IOC asks IAAF for Russian disciplinary cases, could strip Olympic medals
The International Olympic Committee has asked the IAAF to open disciplinary cases against the Russian athletes named in a report by WADA that unveiled systematic use of performance enhancing doping in Russian track and field and could strip medals from guilty athletes. WADA has recommended that the IAAF ban Russia from international competition and give lifetime bans to five athletes and coaches.
Russians Mariya Savinova, winner of the gold medal in the women's 800-meter run at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, and Ekaterina Poistogova, the bronze medalist in that event, were among the athletes recommended for lifetime bans.
If Savinova is stripped of her Olympic victory, South Africa's Semenya would see an upgrade to the gold medal. Semenya finished 1.04 seconds behind Savinova for the silver medal at the 2012 Olympics. She also finished second to Savinova at the 2011 world championships. Any changes to the results could give Semenya two more global championship titles to go along with her 2009 world championship victory in the 800-meter run.
Semenya missed time after her 2009 victory as the IAAF carried out gender tests before she was cleared to return to competition in July 2010.
Kenya's Pamela Jelimo would move from fourth place to second and be awarded a silver.
Semenya has not been as quick to celebrate the possible medal changes as American middle distance runner Alysia Montaño, who could move from fifth place to third with the disqualification of the two Russians.
“I ran the Olympics and I won the silver medal, so I can’t celebrate anything other than my silver,” Semenya told Ockert de Villiers of The Star . “Even if they crown me Olympic champion, it is just an award from them I never celebrated.”
“It wouldn’t mean anything for me, it would be great for my country but for me as an athlete I cannot entertain the thought,” Semenya added.
Montaño could receive a silver medal from the 2010 world indoor championships and bronze medals from the 2011 world championships, 2012 Olympics and 2013 world championships as Savinova finished ahead of her in each respective race.
“You put so much time and energy into these life decisions and goals that you know that you can totally achieve with just hard work,” Montaño told SI on Monday. “Then there's people that believe that's not all it should be. They choose to use outside sources that are wrong and cheating.
“I think about those people sometimes and say ‘How could they feel good right now?’ They just stole from so many people. They don't just steal money or medals. They steal emotions and moments that someone could never get back.”
The IOC has also provisionally suspended former IAAF President Lamine Diack, who served as a honorary member of the Olympic committee.
Russian middle distance runner Elena Arzhakova was found guilty of doping and disqualified from the Olympic final in 2013.
Watch the London 2012 women's 800-meter final below:
Below is a revised look at the 2012 Olympic women's 800-meter run:
Gold - Caster Semenya (RSA) 1:57.23
Silver - Pamela Jelimo (KEN) 1:57.59
Bronze - Alysia Montaño (USA) 1:57.93
4th - Francine Niyonsaba (BDI) 1:59.63
5th - Janeth Jepkosgei Busienei (KEN) 2:00.19
- Christopher Chavez