fog.png
Thursday January 20th, 2022 9:12AM

Man charged with giving Olympic athletes performance drugs

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. prosecutors charged a Texas man on Wednesday with providing performance-enhancing drugs to athletes competing in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, including the star Nigerian sprinter Blessing Okagbare.

Eric Lira, 41, of El Paso, is the first person to be charged under a new U.S. anti-doping law governing international sports competitions.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan said Lira distributed the drugs, including human growth hormone and erythropoietin, a blood-building hormone, “for the purpose of corrupting” the 2020 Games.

Lira also is accused of conspiring to violate drug misbranding and adulteration laws. It was not immediately clear whether he had an attorney who could comment on the charges.

The criminal complaint does not name Okagbare, but includes details suggesting she was among Lira’s clients. A text message was sent to Okagbare seeking comment.

“It’s not winning if you take illegal substances — it’s cheating,” FBI Assistant Director Michael J. Driscoll said in a statement.

Okagbare had been provisionally suspended for testing positive for human growth hormone in July 2021 — in an out-of-competition test — just hours before the former world championships silver medalist was due to run in the semifinals of the women’s 100 meters at the Olympics. The criminal complaint described that suspension.

“When it’s time to say anything, I will and it will be worth the wait,” Okagbare tweeted last year.

A criminal complaint unsealed Wednesday in Manhattan federal court alleges that Lira, a kinesiologist and naturopathic doctor, brought “misbranded” versions of the drugs to the United States from Central and South America before distributing them to athletes.

Federal authorities searched Okagbare's cellphone as she was returning to the United States from Tokyo and found she had frequently communicated with Lira over an encrypted app, according to the complaint.

“Is it safe to take a test this morning?” Okagbare wrote in one message to Lira, according to the complaint. “Remember I took it Wednesday and then yesterday again. I wasn’t sure so I didn’t take a test.”

In another exchange, Okagbare wrote Lira that she had just run the 100m in 10.63 seconds. News reports detailed Okagbare running a race in that time a few days before the message was sent. “Eric my body feel so good,” she wrote. “Whatever you did is working so well.”

“You are doing your part and you will be ready to dominate,” Lira wrote to the athlete.

The charges against Lira were brought under the Rodchenkov Act, a law signed in 2020 that prohibits “any person, other than an athlete,” to knowingly influence any “major international sports competition” with the use of prohibited substance. ___

AP national writer Eddie Pells contributed reporting from Denver.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Olympics, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Man charged with giving Olympic athletes performance drugs
Federal prosecutors have charged a Texas man with providing performance-enhancing drugs to athletes competing in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, including the star Nigerian sprinter Blessing Okagbare
1:09PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Democrats push rival bill sanctioning Russia over Ukraine
Senate Democrats are proposing new sanctions against Russia if it invades Ukraine
1:04PM ( 13 minutes ago )
Kentucky's Tshiebwe wants 'my name to be remembered forever'
Kentucky’s offense now runs through big man Oscar Tshiebwe
1:02PM ( 16 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Former Cubs, Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester announces retirement
Jon Lester, a durable left-hander who won three World Series titles during 16 years in the majors, has announced his retirement
11:24AM ( 1 hour ago )
Djokovic: Not isolating after COVID infection was 'error'
Novak Djokovic says knew he’d tested positive for COVID-19 when he attended a newspaper interview and photo shoot in Serbia last month
10:10AM ( 3 hours ago )
Amid Djokovic backlash, Australia grapples with omicron wave
The omicron variant of the coronavirus has swept across Australia despite its high vaccination rate and strict border policies that kept the country largely sealed off from the world for almost two years
9:38AM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Sports
Filmmaker Zhang Yimou returns for Olympics opening ceremony
Renowned Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou is promising a simpler opening ceremony for next month’s Beijing Winter Games with a bold and unprecedented way of lighting the Olympic flame
10:52PM ( 4 days ago )
Banned from the Olympics by IOC, NKorea puts blame elsewhere
North Korea says it will skip next month’s Beijing Olympics because of the COVID-19 pandemic and “hostile forces’ moves."
4:49AM ( 5 days ago )
IOC assures teams Winter Olympics in Beijing will go ahead
The IOC has promised Olympic teams worldwide that the Winter Games in Beijing will go ahead as planned next month
2:15PM ( 6 days ago )
AP Online Olympics
Biden to huddle with Senate Democrats on voting bills
President Joe Biden is set to meet privately with Senate Democrats at the Capitol, a visit intended to deliver a jolt to the party’s long-stalled voting and elections legislation
12:25PM ( 52 minutes ago )
'Legendary leader' Harry Reid lies in state at US Capitol
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calls the late Sen. Harry Reid a “legendary leader” as the Nevada Democrat is being praised at a private service at the U.S. Capitol
11:54AM ( 1 hour ago )
Former Senate leader Harry Reid lies in state at Capitol
The casket of former Sen. Harry Reid is lying in state at the U.S. Capitol as colleagues and friends gather to pay tribute to a hardscrabble Democrat who served five terms in the Senate and rose to be majority leader
11:04AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Universal health care bill advances in California Assembly
California Democrats have taken their first step toward creating a universal health care system
11:55PM ( 13 hours ago )
Biden challenges Senate on voting: 'Tired of being quiet!'
President Joe Biden is challenging senators to “stand against voter suppression,” urging them to change Senate rules in order to pass voting rights legislation that Republicans are blocking from debate and votes
10:22PM ( 14 hours ago )
Democrat Cherfilus-McCormick to fill Florida US House seat
Democrat Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick will fill Florida’s vacant U.S. House seat
9:56PM ( 15 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Democrats push rival bill sanctioning Russia over Ukraine
Senate Democrats are proposing new sanctions against Russia if it invades Ukraine
1:04PM ( 13 minutes ago )
Kentucky's Tshiebwe wants 'my name to be remembered forever'
Kentucky’s offense now runs through big man Oscar Tshiebwe
1:02PM ( 16 minutes ago )
Djokovic acknowledges error on Australian travel declaration
Novak Djokovic has acknowledged that his Australian travel declaration form contained incorrect information, and he also confessed to an “error of judgment” in taking part in an interview and photo shoot in Serbia last month after testing positive for COVID-19
12:48PM ( 29 minutes ago )
NFL regular-season ratings increase 10% over last season
An extra week of games, close finishes and a non-election year helped propel the NFL to its highest regular-season ratings in six years
12:45PM ( 32 minutes ago )
Biden redoubling focus on testing amid shortages, confusion
The Biden administration is increasing federal support for COVID-19 testing for schools in a bid to keep them open amid the omicron surge
12:33PM ( 45 minutes ago )