World and Olympic champion Simone Biles (United States) spoke out Tuesday on medication she takes for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) after her medical records were hacked and released online.
Simone Biles (United States) at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio
"Having ADHD, and taking medicine for it is nothing to be ashamed of nothing that I'm afraid to let people know," Biles tweeted on Tuesday.
Biles won four gold medals (team, all-around, vault and floor exercise) and a bronze medal (balance beam) at the recent Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. She was the flagbearer for the U.S. team at the closing ceremonies in Rio.
Biles was one of several U.S. Olympians whose medical records from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) were leaked online Tuesday by a hacking group calling itself "Fancy Bear." WADA acknowledged it had been hacked. The documents purportedly showed that U.S. Olympians had unfairly been given "licenses for doping" through receiving Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUE), "Fancy Bear" claimed on its website.
A TUE allows an athlete to take certain substances that typically are banned, as long as the athlete can document it is prescribed for a valid medical condition and is not performance enhancing. On its official website, WADA states, "If the medication or method an athlete requires to treat an illness or condition happens to fall under the Prohibited List, a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) may give that athlete the authorization to take the needed medicine or method."
For a TUE to be granted, WADA requires the following four conditions be met: "The athlete would experience significant health problems without taking the prohibited substance or method; the therapeutic use of the substance would not produce significant enhancement of performance; there is no reasonable therapeutic alternative to the use of the otherwise prohibited substance or method; the requirement to use that substance or method is not due to the prior use of the substance or method without a TUE which was prohibited at the time of use."
During the recent Olympic Games, the released records indicate Biles tested positive for medication commonly prescribed for ADHD. Records indicate the International Gymnastics Federation was aware she was prescribed the medication and she had received a TUE through 2018.
Despite the gross breach of her confidential medical information, Biles responded candidly on the issue in her tweet to emphasize she was not embarrassed by her condition or the medication she takes. People with ADHD typically suffer from concentration issues and/or hyperactivity.
USA Gymnastics issued a statement of support for the gymnast, emphasizing she had committed no violation or wrongdoing.
"Simone has filed the proper paperwork per USADA and WADA requirements, and there is no violation," USAG President Steve Penny said. "The International Gymnastics Federation, the United States Olympic Committee and USADA have confirmed this. Simone and everyone at USA Gymnastics believe in the importance of a level playing field for all athletes."
An athlete is responsible for ensuring he or she has a valid TUE on file; failure to follow proper procedure can result in disciplinary action – even if therapeutic use can be proven. In one of gymnastics' few "doping" cases, USAG nullified the 2008 national championship results of Olympian Morgan Hamm after he tested positive for a glucocorticosteroid at the competition but had failed to get a TUE. Hamm had received the injection, a cortisone-like anti-inflammatory, for an ankle injury that ultimately forced him to withdraw from the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
External Link: WADA: Therapeutic Use Exemption