Yuliya and Vitaly Stepanov

© Copyright – 2016 – Athletics Illustrated

Yuliya Stepanov, the Russian 800-metre runner who tested positive for performance enhancing drugs, then turned whistleblower on the All Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF), claims that she had informed the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) nearly two years before she blew the whistle on ARAF of systematic Russian doping.  She was interviewed at great length by German journalist Hajo Seppelt of ARD TV on systematic Russian doping during the documentary: How Russia Makes Champions, which aired in December 2014.

According to Stepanov, in February of 2013 she sent a 10-page statement to WADA, where she admitted that from 2007 to 2012 she took prohibited substances, including steroids and EPO.

In that document, she explained to WADA how she never tested positive, as she was part of the system that covered up doping use. According to a media release, “Her abundant use of doping over five years has hence never been documented through a positive test, but rather through a statement to WADA that she made out of her free will and which is now being held against her as a long-term user of prohibited substances.”

If this is true, why would WADA have sat on their hands and have done nothing?

Stepanov found out that after she was given the opportunity to compete in the 2016 European Track and Field Championships to try to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and run either independently under the Olympic flag or for Russia, that it was all perhaps a ruse.

Asked how she feels about the decision to not let her compete in the 2016 Rio Olympics Games she told Athletics Illustrated, “I was very sad and did not understand this decision. But the behaviour of the IOC and especially the Ethics Commission made me believe that this decision would be quite probable.”

The following statement below was supplied in the media release from Stepanov:

“The decision is unfair as based on wrong and untrue statements.”

According to the International Olympic Committee they claim in their decision to not let her compete, that she refused to represent Russia if given the opportunity, they said, “Since Mrs. Stepanov declined to compete as a member of the ROC Team, the IOC EB had to consider the question of whether an exception to the rules of the Olympic Charter is possible and appropriate.”

This, according to Stepanov is a false statement.

According to Stepanov, during a phone interview with the Ethics Committee last week, she specifically confirmed that she is prepared to compete as part of the Russian team.

The recorded conversation, which is currently available to the media reads as such:

“Would you accept, under the hypothesis that the Russian national Olympic Committee would accept it on their side, to compete as part of the Russian national team?

Yuliya Stepanov: “The Russian committee has made an official declaration that I will not be part of the Russian national team, that the Russian athletes don’t wish to participate in the Games with me and to be in the same team with me. For this reason, I have really a hard time conceiving that this decision could change.

However, if the Russian Olympic Committee says that it will support me, that it wishes that I am part of the Russian team, I would accept this, with the Russian athletes, as when I have said all that I knew, I did not wish to harm the other athletes, on the contrary I wished to make the sport more clean. I am not against the Russian athletes, I support them with all my heart, I am sorry for them because they are part of this system, they cannot escape it. If I had such an authorisation, yes, yes, I would be happy to be in the Russian national team.”

Stepanov wrote a letter to the IOC Director General, Mr. Christophe de Kepper explaining the false statement above, which is added below.

Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva, who can be assumed as dirty, being Russian (all Russian athletes were subject to doping pressure, according to the ARD documentary) said, “As for Stepanov, the matter is that she should never have been allowed back into sports. She must be banned for life….I do not understand why such a fuss about a person who used doping and was banned for it. And to make her look like of hero – a stupid spit in the faces of all of us. So the fact that she will not perform at the Olympics is correct. At least one wise decision with regard to athletics was made!”

Isinbayeva has made outrageous comments in the past, including her anti-gay rant to the media during the 2013 IAAF World Track and Field Championships:

“If we allow to promote and do all this stuff on the street, we are afraid about our nation because we consider ourselves like normal, standard people,” she said. “We just live with boys with woman, woman with boys. Everything must be fine. It comes from history. We never had any problems, these problems in Russia, and we don’t want to have any in the future.”

Under great media pressure, she later recanted her position, but the damage was done.

Stepanov has served her two year suspension and would otherwise be eligible to run, including under the recently created Refugee Olympic Team, ironically the acronym is R.O.T.

When asked how Stepanov feels about the IOC President Thomas Bach’s announcement that there will not be a blanket ban on Russia for all sports she told Athletics Illustrated, “ I am not sure that the IOC understands how deeply rooted doping is in Russia and how big the issue is.

She has been polite with her answer. Bach must know how deeply rooted doping is in Russia and likely did not make the decision to not ban Russia from the 2016 Rio Olympic Games on his own. It can only be assumed that he was under great pressure from outside sources, for example Russia or perhaps sponsors.

By punishing Stepanov, by not granting her the opportunity to compete in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and apparently lying about her commitment to run for Russia, if given the opportunity, the IOC is failing the people that make up what is the Olympic Games: the athletes.

By discouraging whistle-blowers and by allowing Russia to compete during the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, the IOC is telling the world that doping is perfectly acceptable, as long as your powerful governing body is administering the drug program.


The following letter below was sent to the IOC Director General:

To the attention of Mr. Christophe de Kepper, IOC Director General

Dear Mr. de Kepper,

Thank you for your information about the IOC EB’s decision to not invite Yuliya to the Rio Games.

We have read the IOC Media Release attentively and cannot but be very disappointed that the IOC EB has obviously not been given the correct information by the IOC Ethics Commission. We kindly ask you to forward to the IOC EB our request to review their decision on the basis of the information provided in the media release attached.

We also would like to state that we never blew the whistle with the intent to getting a spectators’ invitation to Rio. We have not asked for a favour, we have asked for a fair and ethical treatment. Having an Ethical Committee report untruthfully in spite of all the discussions being recorded, is something that we would never have conceived. We respectfully decline your invitation as spectators, but kindly ask you to give Yuliya the fair treatment she deserves.

Also, as a courtesy, I want to let you know that this letter will be made public to any and all relevant media.

Best regards,

Yulia and Vitaly Stepanov
Victoria Marathon 300 x 250