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Nadezhda Ostapchuk: ‘People are being mown’

Olympic Champion Nadezhda Ostapchuk is at the centre of a strange doping scandal and has been obliged to return her recent gold medal, badge and diploma
By Denis Kiselev

She has twice tested positive for the illegal drug methenolone, which is classified as an anabolic steroid, having been tested the day before the start of the competition (August 5th) and after winning the final of the Olympic tournament. The outcome is reported on the official website of the International Olympic Committee. The gold medal now passes to New Zealand’s Valerie Adams while Russian Yevgenia Kolodko got claims silver and Chinese Gong Lijiao now takes bronze.

The news is a blow not only to Nadezhda but to her numerous fans. However, she has been happy to discuss the matter, rather than hiding behind the traditional ‘no comment’.

It is difficult to say anything yet. I’d only learnt of the results a few hours before people began calling to ask questions. Before we draw any conclusions, I’d like to see the test results; I’ll then decide what to do next.

If I understand correctly, this season, you passed the doping test more than once?

Of course; the last time was on July 30th, shortly before my departure to London. All the tests were negative so it seems strange to find the drug in my system within a week! I just don’t understand how this can be!

Does it make sense to fight for the truth?

I don’t think it’s right to just leave the situation as it is, knowing that I was clean; this simply could not happen. It’s stupid, and, of course, I’m not going to surrender. Moreover, there have been precedents. First, we should look at the results to understand where they’ve come from and how. This drug is anabolic — which is ‘Stone Age’! Why would I go to the Olympics taking a drug that can be detected, thinking that I’d somehow slip through several doping tests? It looks illogical, clumsy and very ugly. I have the feeling that someone has interfered; we need to find out where and how.

Have you discussed the situation with anyone from management?

We’ve only recently returned from London, but now need to try to understand and solve the issue. It’s clear that ‘mowing’ is occurring; there’s no other explanation.

Of course, the Olympics are not the only competition of the strongest and fastest. They are called Games but are they always played honestly? Who benefitted from the absolutely illogical expulsion of Ivan Tikhon from the Olympics? The Hungarian athlete won gold, but only a knowledgeable few know that he is a representative of a country which is a leading member of the International Federation.

Ms. Ostapchuk admits that she doesn’t know all the circumstances of her case but it’s obvious that the struggle to clear her good name is yet to come. We remember very well how, four years ago, Belarusian Ivan Tikhon and Vadim Devyatovsky faced a similar battle with the IOC and WADA; eventually, after a long trial, they cleared their names. From these all-powerful monsters of the world of sport, they received an apology and were given their medals again. This may be the second round imposed on Belarusian sport by Olympic officials.

The 30th Olympiad will be remembered not only for the performances of Bolt, Phelps and other heroes, but for several discriminatory judicial decisions, which have darkened the competition. We cannot forget the blows inflicted by the judges on Novikova, Safaryanets and Korneev, whose victories were fraudulently stolen.
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