Uta and the DLV Case
The Testosterone/Epitestosterone Ratio Inquiry and Subsequent Resolution of the 1998 Uta Pippig DLV Case
- The results of a random non-competition drug test from Uta Pippig in April 1998 found that Uta’s epitestosterone levels were low and as a result her ratio of testosterone-epitestosterone (T/E) was greater than the ratio permitted under then-existing standards.
- Uta’s initial T/E ratio was measured as 9.7:1, and her second test showed 9.2:1. This was higher than the 6:1 ratio then acceptable. Although it noted that Uta’s testosterone level was actually in the low-normal range, and it was, instead, her low level of epitestosterone that caused the elevated ratio, The German Track and Field Athletic Federation (DLV) had no choice but to enact a suspension and the matter was submitted to review and arbitration.
- The tests found no banned substances present in Uta’s body.
- In subsequent analyses, it was determined by independent specialists including Dr. Robert Barbieri, the Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and an expert in hormones and the use of steroids, and Dr. Horst Lübbert, the Head of Obstetrics and Gynecology at The Free University of Berlin, that Uta’s ratio imbalance was due to low levels of epitestosterone caused by active bowel disease and the simultaneous use of oral contraceptives.
- In independent expert opinions Dr. Barbieri and Dr. Lübbert concluded that the use of oral contraceptives and active bowel disease raise the T/E ratio, and each doctor provided written statements to the DLV and the Court of Arbitration. According to Dr. Barbieri’s statement, “The T/E ratio is not valid for women on oral contraceptives with active bowel disease.” Uta had a public history of bowel disease, most notably the colitis she battled while running the 1996 Boston Marathon which caused her to be hospitalized for four days after winning that race.
Resolution from the Review and Arbitration Proceeding with the DLV
- For almost two years the reports and expert opinions were presented and discussed in the case of Uta Pippig vs. DLV. After being unable to come to a conclusion, it was finally decided that the proceedings be brought to the Court of Arbitration within the German Sports Federation (DBS). During that time period, Uta could not compete.
- Judge Dr. Eike Ullmann chaired the arbitration panel of three judges that heard the case. Finally, on August 5, 2000, both parties agreed to terminate further proceedings and consider the case settled. This allowed Uta to once again compete. Judge Dr. Ullmann concluded that, “De facto there was a ban (on Uta competing during the appeal process), but its existence has not been legally justified.” (Interview with Judge Dr. Ullmann published in Der Tagespiegel, August 9, 2000.) Judge Dr. Ullmann went on to state that if Uta was found to be in violation of a future drug test, that would constitute her first violation.
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