Hope Solo tests positive, still eligible

Updated: July 9, 2012, 8:25 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- U.S. national team goalkeeper Hope Solo received a public warning Monday from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency after she tested positive for the banned substance Canrenone in a urine test.

Solo has accepted the warning and will still play for the United States in the Olympic tournament.

The 30-year-old Solo tested positive for Canrenone in a test on June 15.

"I took a medication prescribed by my personal doctor for pre-menstrual purposes that I did not know contained a diuretic," Solo said in a statement. "Once informed of this fact, I immediately cooperated with USADA and shared with them everything they needed to properly conclude that I made an honest mistake, and that the medication did not enhance my performance in any way."

[+] EnlargeHope Solo
Russ Isabella/US PresswireU.S. women's soccer keeper Hope Solo tested positive for a banned substance but will be allowed to participate in the 2012 Olympics.

Canrenone is classified as a specified substance, so its presence in an athlete's sample can result in a reduced sanction.

"As someone who believes in clean sport, I am glad to have worked with USADA to resolve this matter and I look forward to representing my country at the 2012 Olympic Games in London," she said.

The rules that permit USADA to give Solo a public warning, rather than a suspension, were implemented starting in 2009 following the regular review and revision of the WADA code. The code now permits significant reduction or elimination of sanctions for a certain category of "specified" prohibited substances.

National anti-doping agencies and athletes had argued for more flexibility in sanctions regarding substances that were clearly not used for performance-enhancing purposes, or were in an athlete's body due to the kind of "honest mistake'' Solo admitted.

One impetus for the rules change was the case of Zach Lund, then a U.S. athlete in the winter sledding sport of skeleton. Lund tested positive for finasteride, an ingredient in an anti-hair-loss medication. It was considered to be a potential masking agent for other drugs by authorities at the time but has since been removed from the banned list.

USADA gave Lund a public warning, but WADA appealed and requested a stronger punishment, citing rules then in place that made athletes subject to sanctions for the presence of a banned substance no matter why it showed up in their systems.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled in WADA's favor but arbitrators also said they believed Lund had no intention to cheat, and added that he had not been "well-served" by the anti-doping agencies.

Considered one of the world's top keepers, Solo helped the Americans to a second-place finish in last year's World Cup, only a penalty kicks shootout loss to Japan denying Solo her first World Cup title.

A recent semifinalist on "Dancing With The Stars," Solo has been the regular U.S. keeper for nearly six years and backstopped the Americans to the 2008 gold medal in Beijing with some spectacular performances.

She also is remembered for the contentious finish to the 2007 World Cup in China, when she helped the Americans reach the semifinals. But she was benched by coach Greg Ryan against Brazil for veteran Briana Scurry, a hero of the 1999 world champions. Scurry was rusty, the United States was routed 4-0, and Solo famously criticized Ryan's move.

"It was the wrong decision, and I think anybody that knows anything about the game knows that," Solo said. "There's no doubt in my mind I would have made those saves. ... You have to live in the present. And you can't live by big names. You can't live in the past."

Ryan dismissed Solo from the World Cup team. She wasn't allowed on the bench for the third-place game, did not participate in the medal ceremony and flew home from China on her own.

Pia Sundhage soon took over as coach and Solo has remained her top goalkeeper since.

Information from ESPN.com's Bonnie Ford and The Associated Press was used in this report.