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The Shakeout Podcast: The Dirty Race

We ask Hilary Stellingwerff about racing at the 2012 London Olympics, her thoughts about the subsequent doping revelations, and what can be done to ensure clean sport.


On this week’s episode, we go back to the 2012 London Olympics, to what has been called the dirtiest race in track and field history: the women’s 1,500m final.  At last count, six out of the nine top finishers have tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs, and most recently, the then 2012-Olympic 1,500m champion, Asli Cakir Alptekin from Turkey, has committed a third doping infraction and is banned for life. 

READ MORE: Former Olympic champion commits third doping infraction, banned for life

Olympic 1,500m final
An edited photo of the results from the London 2012 women’s 1,500m final.

Although there is a cost for an athlete caught doping, there is also a great cost for a clean athlete. One of these athletes is Canadian Hilary Stellingwerff, who was at the 2012 London Olympics for the 1,500m and who should have been in final. 

READ MORE: Canada’s Hilary Stellingwerff robbed of Olympic final berth by doping Turkish running 

Canada’s Hilary Stellingwerff running in the 1500m heats at the London 2012 Olympics. Photo: tompagenet.

We speak to Hilary today about that race, the events both leading up to it and the revelations that followed. She tells us about the long road that paved her way to the 2012 Olympic team, her thoughts in London, and the subsequent examination of the race and the sport as a whole that resulted from the doping revelations. 

In our conversation with Hilary, we also bring forward key figures in her life at the time around the 2012 Olympics. Dave Scott-Thomas, her long-time coach, Malindi Elmore, a former training partner, and Trent Stellingwerff, her husband and coach. We ask the questions: How do we eliminate doping in sport? How do we keep clean athletes invested and motivated in an unfair playing field? 



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The music on this week’s show is:

Daphni, Poly and Life is What You Make It from the album “Joli Mai.”

CFCF, Colours of Life.

Yves Tumor, Limerence from “Mono No Aware.”