A Turkish Olympic champ faces a life ban after being charged with her second doping offense.
Asli Cakir Alptekin, who won the women’s 1,500 meters at the 2012 Olympics, was already under heavy suspicion after testing positive in 2004 to a banned substance.
Last summer Cakir beat out fellow Turkish runner Gamze Bulut to win the gold medal in the running event, but the runner denied repeated questions after her win about whether she used performance-enhancing drugs.
Other runner had their doubts about Asli Cakir Alptekin.
“I’ll probably get into trouble for saying this but I don’t believe I’m competing on a level playing field,” said UK runner Lisa Dobriskey just after the finish of the 1,500 meter final. “I think the blood passport is catching people but I think these games came too soon. People will be caught eventually, I think. Fingers crossed anyway.”
Dobriskey stuck to her guns in an interview a while later.
“It was horrible to see that athlete do a lap of honor and prance around with her country’s flag,” she said of the Olympic champ. “It made me feel sick so I said what I felt. I hadn’t planned to speak out but I was asked how did I feel about a former drugs cheat winning Olympic gold and I answered the question. I wouldn’t have won or got a medal but it was just so disappointing to see that.”
Officials said they found “abnormal blood values” in Cakir’s biological passport, leading to the life ban for the Olympic champ.
Cakir is not the only Olympic athlete and international champ facing a ban. Fellow Turkish runner Nevin Yanit, who twice won the European 100m hurdles, also faces a ban for multiple positive tests both in and out of competitions.
The Olympic champ could fight her life ban. The International Association of Athletics Federations has provisionally suspended both Yanit and Cakir while their cases were referred to the Turkish federation for the appeal phase.