WEST HOLLYWOOD—On Thursday, July 16, Olympic finalist sprinter Deejah Stevens was banned 18 months for missing drug tests. She will miss the 2021 Tokyo Games.
Stevens has been running since she was 11 years old and has been under the tutelage of coach Anthony Hall. As a 200-meter specialist, she placed seventh in the final at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics and fifth at the 2017 world championships in London. She was a former NCAA champion in the 4×400 relay running for the University of Oregon.
According to the Athletics Integrity Unit, which prosecutes cases in track and field, Stevens missed three doping controls in 2019 in Oregon and West Hollywood. Three violations within the span of a year can lead to a ban. The ban was backdated to start on February 17, 2020. It will expire days after the closing ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics in August 2021.
In the World Athletics v. Deajah Stevens ruling, Stevens cited issues with her telephone as justification for missing the tests. It was added that on one occasion, her phone ran out of battery power overnight. In another occasion, Stevens changed her number to avoid calls from an unknown individual.
“Despite our sympathy for the athlete, we have not been satisfied on a balance of probability that her behavior was not negligent and did not cause or contribute to her failure to be available for testing…She should have been on red alert and conscious that she could not miss the next one,” said the disciplinary panel.
Stevens can appeal against the ban at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.