U.S. Olympian LaShawn Merritt, a gold medalist in track and field, was suspended Monday after testing positive for banned steriods almost a year ago, according to the USADA.
Merritt tested positive for DHEA last year, and was placed on a provisional suspension and "disqualified from all competitive results achieved at and subsequent to October 28, 2009, including forfeiture of any medals, points, and prizes", said the statement from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.
The decision was made by an independent three-member American Arbitration Association panel who've been investigating the doping violation, the agency said. The 21-month period of ineligibility dates back to the day the first sample was collected, said Nick Esares, communications representative with USADA.
The track star won gold medals in the men's 400 meters and 400-meter relay at the 2008 Beijing games.
In April, a statement released by Merritt said the use of the substance was the inadvertent result of taking an over-the-counter "male enhancement" pill, "and occurred at a time that he was neither seriously training nor competing."
In a statement issued through his attorney in April, Merritt said he had accepted a provisional suspension. Merritt's attorney Howard Jacobs, said the athlete was notified of the positive results in March and was "shocked and saddened" by the news.
Calls to Jacob's office Friday, after the suspension was announced, were not immediately returned.