IAAF doping scandal: Clean athletes to receive medal upgrades

On Tuesday, the IAAF made public that it had discovered 32 adverse drug test results from samples gathered during the 2005 and 2007 world championships.

Elvan Abeylegesse of Turkey is the first runner to be publicly named. She will likely be stripped of her silver medal in the 10,000m, which would mean that American athlete, Kara Goucher, would be upgraded from bronze to silver eight years after the fact.

Jo Pavey of Great Britain, who finished fourth in the race, will now technically be on the podium, though Pavey took to social media to express her feelings on the matter.

As Abeylegesse has the right to appeal her positive drug test, nothing is yet certain. If her positive test is upheld, her competition results for two years following that test would be considered void. If this occurs, a switch up will also occur in the 2008 Olympic medal rankings in the 10,000m.


Abeylegesse currently has the silver medal, but if her test is upheld, it will go to American Shalane Flanagan, who set the American record of 30:22 in that race. The Turkish runner also took home a silver in the 5,000m, which may now go to Meseret Defar of Ethiopia.

With doping revelations dropping what seems like every week right now in the athletics world, there is going to be a lot of rewriting of the history books. While the official results and consequential Wikipedia summaries can be altered, the moment of standing on the podium and the financial windfall these athletes could have experienced as medallists can not be recouped.

Meanwhile, the Turkish Athletics Federation has said that Abeylegesse has been left of the World Championship squad for, ahem, “injury reasons.”