Ostapchuk just the latest Belarussian cheat
Tue, 14 Aug 2012 5:31p.m.
By Tony Wright
Valerie Adams is a double Olympic champion.
Belarussian Nadzeya Ostapchuk has been stripped of her Olympic title after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs at the London Games, and becomes the latest in a long line of Olympians from Belarus to be caught doping.
And she's unlikely to be the last.
Adams finally got to have a celebratory drink at her training base in Switzerland after a roller-coaster ride of emotions since competing in London.
"Lots of tears today, I think I've cried so much in the last 10 days, it's been basically a bit too much," says Adams. "But this has obviously been a fantastic day for myself and also for New Zealand."
But not so for Belarus. Ostapchuk, Adams' great rival for the past eight years, tested positive for the banned anabolic steroid metenolone twice – both from urine samples taken the day before and after the women's shot put final.
It's the sixth occasion a Belarussian athlete has been caught doping at an Olympics in 10 years.
Hammer throwers Vadim Devyatovskiy and Ivan Tsikhan were stripped of the silver and bronze medals they won in Beijing after both tested positive for abnormal levels of testosterone.
They appealed to the Court Of Arbitration For Sport and had their medals reinstated due to discrepancies in their drug testing, but they were not officially exonerated.
Tsikhan was due to compete in London but was sent home early after a retest of a doping sample from Athens, where he won silver in 2004, also turned up positive.
Drug Free Sport New Zealand's Graeme Steel wonders what's going on behind the old Iron Curtain.
"The old Eastern Bloc had a serious doping issue for many, many years, and I don't think it's a secret that it didn't go away when the [Berlin] Wall came down," he says.
"There has been some residue from that, and that's being overturned over time, and some of them are getting better at policing their athletes rather than helping their athletes. So what's happening in Belarusa today – and I don't know – but I hope they're doing it the right way."
East Germany was the most well-known of the old state-funded drug-cheating nations. Twenty of their former coaches have admitted to administering anabolic steroids under the guise of vitamins to their champion athletes in the 1970s and '80s.
Former women's shot put star Heidi Krieger received so much testosterone that she physically changed into a man, who now calls himself Andreas.
Adams now feels she can justifiably be regarded as one of the greatest shot putters of all time.
"A double gold-winner, Olympic gold medallist is very rare to come by and I think the longevity in the sport shows just how good you are by being able to maintain your dominance throughout Olympic games," she says.
Ostapchuk, 31, faces a two-year ban from the sport. Adams will be wondering if she'll be back in four years' time to renew their rivalry in Rio.
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15/08/2012 10:04:09 a.m.
Once again, lawyers are the spoilers. It used to be life ban, until the criminal huggers got in on the act. I say ban for life, and to hell with the lawyers.
14/08/2012 7:52:11 p.m.
It shouldn't be two years, thats cheat and breaking the law, should be ban forever. Anyone do something like that is a shame forever because its all over the whole and when they come back on the Olympic we don't want to see them at all, we gonna turn off our tv. If it was Val that do that I will charge them the same. But I believe New Zealand are well respect people and understanding country I ever leave in, and I think New Zealand is never give such a thing like that, we are not cheating. Once again congratulation to Val from NZ
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