The photo of 800 meter Olympic Champion Mariya Savinova, of Russia, is telling. She is crossing the finish line and is the winner of the 800 Meter finals. She has the Gold Medal. Her mouth is open. She is emotionally overwhelmed. It is not even close. Alyssa Montano, who finished fourth in the race, is to her right in the photo and is frowning; she knows.
The reason the photo is so profound now and why Montano is frowning is because Savinova was recently recommended for a lifetime ban from track and field by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)for using performance enhancing drugs up to and during the London games. The actions of the Russian track and field team has been described as so egregious that it is said they have ruined the games. Several of their runners from the games will also be banned for life.
Montano is quoted recently as saying she knew Savinova was doping as the race unfolded. She was giving max effort and the Savinova was jogging. She noted she did not want to accuse without evidence.
With the evidence in, one can only wonder how it feels. Olympic athletes invest the time and energy, the pain, and sacrifice, for a chance to stand on the podium. There are no shortcuts. Hard work. I guess Montano gets her bronze medal in the mail.
Sebastian Coe, the famous track star, now runs the International Association of Athletic Associations, says his organization is committed to fixing this. Time is short. The 2016 Olympics in Rio are next year. If there is doping in the mix, it is in the mix right now and being planned right now. As the Lance Armstrong saga revealed, doping is sophisticated and complex. It has evolved. The quest for clean races must also evolve.