A Texas therapist, Eric Lira, has been convicted on Monday for giving banned Nigerian sprinter Blessing Okagbare and other Olympic athletes performance-enhancing drugs.
The therapist who has also acknowledged his crime might spend up to 10 years in prison, according to US authorities.
The US Department of Justice said the therapist is the first individual to be convicted under new US legislation passed in reaction to Russia’s state-sponsored Olympic doping scandals.
Grigory Rodchenkov advocated the 2020 law, which provides US authorities the power to indict anyone who took part in a global conspiracy to commit doping fraud.
Before the 2021 epidemic that forced the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics, it was discovered that Lira had provided Okagbare with the banned drug that ended her career.
Just before the women’s 100-meter semifinals, Okagbare was kicked out of the Tokyo Olympics after it was discovered that she had tested positive for human growth hormone in a pre-event test in Slovakia. After that, she was prohibited from taking part in sports for ten years.
Lira filed a guilty plea in federal court in Manhattan on Monday, and US Attorney Damian Williams hailed the case as a “watershed moment for international sport.”
“Lira provided banned performance-enhancing substances to Olympic athletes who wanted to corruptly gain a competitive edge,” Williams said.
“Such craven efforts to undermine the integrity of sport subverts the purpose of the Olympic games: to showcase athletic excellence through a level playing field.
“Lira’s efforts to pervert that goal will not go unpunished.”
Ten years in prison is the maximum penalty for breaking the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act. On a yet-to-be-decided date, a judge will decide Lira’s sentence, according to the Justice Department.