Paula Radcliffe has been cleared of any suspicion of blood doping by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) after the governing body declared there were "clearly plausible explanations" for her questionable results and that subsequent tests of both blood and urine from the 41-year-old came back negative.
Questions regarding Radcliffe's possible involvement arose publicly back in September after she was indirectly implicated during a meeting of the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport select committee that followed an investigation by The Sunday Times and German broadcaster ARD, which involved the collection of 12,000 blood tests from 5,000 athletes over an 11-year period.
On 27 November, the IAAF issued a swift and detailed rebuttal to accusations that it did little to prevent widespread blood doping, using the example of Radcliffe to demonstrate the apparent pitfalls of making assumptions based on certain data.
"Paula Radcliffe's case illustrates the point perfectly," an official statement read. "She has been publicly accused of blood doping based on the gross misinterpretation of raw and incomplete data. When all of the necessary information is considered, however (as the WADA ABP protocols require), there are clearly plausible explanations for the values in her profile that are entirely innocent.
"For example, in two of the cases highlighted by The Sunday Times, the samples were collected immediately after competition (when dehydration causes a decrease in plasma concentration, and so an increase in reported haemoglobin concentration, even though there has been no increase in red blood cells).
"Any competent scientist would therefore immediately conclude that they should be disregarded. Furthermore, the IAAF followed up by testing Ms Radcliffe's urine samples for rEPO, and her blood samples for evidence of blood transfusions, and all of those tests came back negative."