© Copyright – 2024 – Athletics Illustrated

Russian proverb:

One day, a poor Russian villager happens upon a magic, talking fish that offers to grant him a single wish. Overjoyed, the villager weighs his options: “Maybe a castle? Or even better—a thousand bars of gold? Why not a ship to sail the world?” As the villager is about to make his decision, the fish interrupts him to say that there is one important caveat: whatever the villager gets, his neighbour will receive two of the same. Without skipping a beat, the villager says, “In that case, please poke one of my eyes out.”

Russia continues to stumble in its so-called reconciliation out of systematic doping. But, nothing has changed.

The latest Keystone Cops episode sees the national athletics program hire three former athletes who have been banned for doping. They include Sergei Kirdyapkin, Olga Kanishkina, and Yelena Lashmanova. They will coach with the national team.

The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (Rusada), Russian Athletics Federation (RAF), and Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) have been at odds with the world of sport. Their tale of systematic doping coverups, and chaotic organization could not be more entertaining if it wasn’t sad; two eyes for some.

Sergei Kirdyapkin

Kirdyapkin was stripped of the 2012 Olympic gold medal in the 50K racewalk. The decision was handed down by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in 2016. Due to these doping violations, he was given a three-year-and-two-month ban from athletic competition, backdated to October 2012, allowing him time to still qualify for the 2016 Summer Olympics. However, Russia did not compete in athletics at the 2016 Rio Olympic Gamess, due to the suspension of the governing body, World Athletics, due to systematic doping.

Olga Kanishkina

Kaniskina was part of a training group coached by Viktor Chegin. More than a dozen members of that group have been suspended for doping violations. In January 2015, Kaniskina was disqualified for three years and two months dating back from October 2012. All of her results between July 2009 and September 2009, as well as between July 2011 and Nov. 2011 — including two world championship gold medals — were annulled.

In March 2015, World Athletics filed an appeal to the CAS in Lausanne, Switzerland, questioning the selective disqualification of the suspension periods of the six athletes involved, including the one for Kaniskina which had allowed her to keep her Olympic silver medal.

Kaniskina received prize money of around $135,000 from the government at events from which she was later disqualified.

Yelena Lashmanova

Lashmanova was the 2012 London Olympic Champion in the 20K racewalk. In 2021, she received a two-year ban for doping along with a similar penalty for the majority of her training partners shortly thereafter. Her Olympic gold was stripped following the International Olympic Committee decision in March 2022 regarding systematic doping in Russia. It is claimed by Russian whistleblower Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov that her positive sample was from her 2012 London Olympic Games mistakenly substituted for a further positive test result by the state run-doping program. He claims that she had at least two positive findings that went unreported and that this one was reported only because it was witnessed by non-Russian experts.


According to the Russian news agency TASS, allegedly, Lashmanova, Kirdyapkin and Kanishkina will join the national team in 2024. They have been hired as endurance coaches. The World Anti-Doping Agency has enough on its plate with the alleged Spanish doping debacle.

“Don’t dig a hole for someone else or you will fall into it yourself.”
– Russian Proverb