American Man Faces 10 Years in Prison After Pleading Guilty to Supplying Banned Drugs to Blessing Okagbare, Others

According to US officials, a Texas therapist faces up to ten years in jail after pleading guilty on Monday, May 8, to selling performance-enhancing medications to Olympic athletes, including banned Nigerian sprinter Blessing Okagbare.


Eric Lira, a ‘naturopathic’ therapist located in El Paso, is the first person to be convicted under a new US legislation enacted in the aftermath of Russia’s state-sponsored Olympic doping scandals, according to the Department of Justice.


Following the Russian doping scandal, the 2020 law, named after Russian whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov, allows US authorities to pursue persons involved in worldwide doping fraud networks.

In the run-up to the pandemic-affected Tokyo Olympics in 2021, Lira was discovered to have given pharmaceuticals to Okagbare.


Okagbare was excluded from the Tokyo Olympics just before the women’s 100m semi-finals after testing positive for human growth hormone in an out-of-competition test in Slovakia before the Games. She was then banned from the sport for ten years.


US Attorney Damian Williams said Monday after Lira pleaded guilty in a federal court in Manhattan that the case was 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.’


The maximum sentence for violating the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act is 10 years in prison. Lira’s sentence will be determined by a judge at a later date, the Justice Department statement said.


United States Anti-Doping Agency chief executive Travis Tygart welcomed the conviction.

‘Without this law, Lira, who held himself out as a doctor to athletes, likely would have escaped consequence for his distribution of dangerous performance-enhancing drugs and his conspiracy to defraud the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games because he did not fall under any sport anti-doping rules,’ he said.


Femi Otedola Finally Opens Up On Relationship With Tony Elumelu

This Nigerian Firm Went From a Chatbot to a $150 Million Company