New Zealander Olivia Ray was sanctioned by the US Agency for International Development for two and a half years, after she admitted to using Human Growth Hormone (HGH), Clenbuterol and Oxandrolone. USADA said it has also acknowledged possession of clenbuterol and oxandrolone.
Ray – who recently rode on Human Powered Health – was quietly removed from the team roster in March of this year, sparking a flurry of interest. CyclingTips first revealed the deeper context of the investigation opened into Ray by USADA, as well as a court case that revealed Ray’s friend at the time, Jackson ‘Huntley’ Nash, had been accused of domestic violence by several women, including Ray .
Nash was banned for life by USADA in August. In May, he separately received a three-year ban from USA Bike for violating Safesport policies. A summary of the decision – seen by CyclingTips – shows that USAC found “likely evidence” that he abused two other claimants, including physical abuse, confinement, and withholding of medication.
“This case demonstrates the power of investigations in the fight to protect sport and athletes’ rights,” said Travis T Tygart, CEO of the US Agency for International Development. “As always, we will rigorously investigate and act on evidence of doping violations, and we greatly appreciate the assistance of those who come forward on behalf of Clean Sport.”
Ray’s doping violations cannot easily be separated from the context of Ray Nash’s relationship.
The USADA case began in December 2021 after a whistleblower – Nash’s ex-girlfriend Madeline Pierce – helped Ray escape an alleged abusive relationship with Nash. By January, however, Ray and Nash had reconciled — in part, Ray claims, because Nash was threatening to disclose her doping and because she “had nowhere else to go”. Nash took Pierce to court claiming she was stalking him, and Ray testified in support of her boyfriend, perjury in the process.
Finding no evidence to support Nash’s claim, the judge ordered him to pay Pierce’s legal fees, and noted in her closing remarks that she found Ray’s testimony “disturbing” – “I don’t think she made that up. She obviously filed a police report and took steps to protect her safety,” the judge said. .
Ray Nash later left again, returning to New Zealand and disconnecting by March. In an interview in July with the New Zealand Herald, she said he was still trying to reach her with gifts and flowers sent to her parents’ home in Auckland.
In that interview, Ray also admitted to taking performance-enhancing drugs and said she had fully cooperated with the USADA investigation. “I don’t think I was racing for myself at all,” Ray said. “I was always racing for someone else, or to prove something.”
In a statement shared with CyclingTips this morning, Cycling New Zealand said it “fully supports USADA’s actions regarding the suspension that was delivered to New Zealand cyclist Olivia Ray. While it reiterates its firm position that doping has no place in the sport, cycling in New Zealand will continue to Reach out to Ray to offer support during this challenging time for the rider.”
Ray’s doping violated the rules of USADA, Olympic, and UCI, each body operating under the WADA code. She was to be subject to a four-year suspension, but USADA gave her a one-year reduction for her cooperation and immediate acceptance. They also gave her an additional six months discount for helping her in the case against Nash.
Ray’s results have been stripped from May 17, 2021, including Lion’s Den Crit in October 2021 which got her into an uproar after her winnings were delayed. Ray was also New Zealand’s national champion. CyclingTips understands that Ally Wollaston – who finished second and inherited the U23 Championship in progression – will inherit the Elite title.
In comments to the New Zealand Herald this morning, Ray appeared relieved that the ordeal was over. “I did what I did, and I can’t change it now. Honesty in the end is what I should have done from day one,” she said. “No looking back, but big life lessons learned.”
USA: National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1800799 7233
-NZ: It’s not good at 0800456450
-Australia: 1800RESPECT at 1800737732
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