Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has disqualified 38 athletes who competed at London 2012 for doping, representing 1.7% of the 2,231 track and field athletes that competed. Russia led the field with 11 athletes disqualified, closely followed by Turkey with nine disqualifications. They were followed by Ukraine and Belarus, with five and three disqualifications, respectively. However, as Russia sent 97 athletes to London, only 11% of its athletes have been disqualified for doping. This compares to 27% for Turkey and 20% for Saudi Arabia, where two of the ten athletes the kingdom sent to London were disqualified.
The figures represent athletes who competed at London 2012 but were later disqualified, and were produced by Hilary Evans who analysed the IAAF website and monthly newsletters. Twenty-six of the 38 disqualified are female, which either suggests that it is easier to catch females or that the effect of performance-enhancing drugs is more pronounced in female athletes. In the German Democratic Republic, State Plan 14.25 focussed mainly on female athletes, as it was understood that doping females would yield better results.
— Hilary Evans (@OlympicStatman) March 28, 2016
Twenty nine of the 38 were caught through the athlete biological passport (ABP) programme, which illustrates its effectiveness in catching dopers. Four athletes tested positive in London; two tested positive before the Games; two tested positive due to retrospective analysis of past samples and one (Tyson Gay) admitted doping after an investigation by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) into a later positive.
The list includes the Russians who were given selective bans by the Russian athletics federation (RusAF). Last week, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) upheld an IAAF appeal against RusAF’s selective annulment of results. The decision means that Olga Kaniskina and Sergey Kirdyapkin will lose their London 2012 race walking medals.
It also includes Nevin Yanit, who took fifth place at the 100m hurdles at London 2012. She was initially given a two-year ban by the Turkish athletics federation after stanzolol and testosterone were found in a June 2013 sample she provided. This ban was later increased to three years from 6 March 2013, after the CAS upheld an appeal by the IAAF, which included evidence from her ABP that she had been doping in June 2012. The IAAF later annulled her results from 28 June 2012 onwards.
It also includes Aslı Çakır Alptekin, who took gold in the 1,500m at London 2012 and disputes that she doped. Alptekin accepted that her blood values were abnormal, but in the words of the CAS, she was ‘unable to substantiate the explanations she has offered for those values, and therefore is unable to rebut the IAAF’s assertion that those values are the result of some form of blood manipulation’. As such, she faced an eight-year ban for a second doping offence, having already served a two-year ban after testing positive for anabolic steroids in 2004 at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Gresetto, Italy.
As reported by the Sports Integrity Initiative, the women’s 1,500m final at the London 2012 Olympics could vie for the title as the ‘dirtiest race in history’. Following the annulment of Alptekin’s result, Gamze Bulut was in line to receive the gold, however it is understood that she is also being investigated for irregularities in her ABP. Of the 12 athletes that finished the race, five have been suspected of doping. Twelve of the 23 Turkish female athletes that competed at London 2012 have either been suspended for ADRVs, or are under investigation. The full IAAF list of athletes currently serving a sanction is available here.
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