Lausanne - Russian
runner Maria Savinova was stripped of her 2012 Olympic gold medal for
doping on Friday, putting Caster Semenya in line to become a two-time
Savinova, who won the 800m title at the London
Games ahead of Semenya, was also banned for four years by the Court of
Arbitration for Sport.
CAS said the 31-year-old Savinova was "found to have been engaged in using doping" from July 2010 until August 2013.
2014, Savinova was caught in undercover footage filmed by Russian
doping whistleblower Yulia Stepanova appearing to admit to injecting
testosterone and taking the banned steroid oxandrolone. The footage
helped spark a World Anti-Doping Agency investigation into Russia, and
led to Savinova's blood samples being re-examined.
not raced competitively since 2013. She had been preparing for a
comeback when she was filmed by Stepanova and then suspended during the
Following further evidence of widespread drug use,
the Russian track team was suspended from all international competitions
in November 2015 and missed last year's Olympics.
International Olympic Committee decides to reallocate the medals from
the 2012 final, Semenya will add that gold medal to the one she won last
year in Rio de Janeiro.
The original bronze medalist in the 2012
Olympic final, Ekaterina Poistogova of Russia, is also under
investigation for doping. If she is banned, Pamela Jelimo of Kenya would
be in line for silver, with bronze for Alysia Montano of the United
States. Another Russian who originally finished sixth, Elena Arzahkova,
was retrospectively disqualified in 2013 over blood doping.
could also become a two-time world champion by inheriting Savinova's
gold medal from 2011. Yvonne Hak of the Netherlands is in line for the
2010 European title, though Savinova keeps the 2010 world indoor title
she won ahead of Britain's Jenny Meadows.
The Russian is also
obliged to return at least $156,000 in prize money from various
competitions where she's now considered disqualified.
The WADA commission which investigated Russian track and field had originally recommended a lifetime ban for Savinova.
She can appeal the CAS ruling within 45 days.
In the footage filmed by Stepanova, Savinova said doping was the only way to succeed in Russian sport.
should we do? How should it go differently? That is our system and in
Russia that only works only with pharma," she said, according to a
transcript produced by WADA.
"Oxandrolone is very quickly out of my body
out again. It takes less than 20 days."
Savinova also said that
her husband, former runner Alexei Farnosov, had used "contacts" at a
drug-testing laboratory to help cover up her doping. The Moscow
drug-testing laboratory was later shut down and its director testified
he had covered up hundreds of failed tests by top Russian athletes.
top coaches who worked with Savinova, Alexei Melnikov and Vladimir
Kazarin, have also faced punishment. Melnikov was banned for life by the
IAAF last year, while Kazarin is suspended awaiting the results of an
investigation, though he's been accused of breaking that suspension by
continuing to coach Russian runners.