Out of the eight track and field gold medals that Russia originally won at the 2012 Olympics, only one is still considered legitimate.
Natalya Antyukh, Russia’s 400-meter hurdle champion from a decade ago, was retroactively stripped of her Olympic gold medal last week, according to the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU). The Russian Anti-Doping Agency handed out the punishment, which will become official in 45 days if it is not appealed.
Last year, Antyukh was dealt a four-year ban, voiding her results from June of 2013 through December of 2015. The most recent sanction stretches that period of ineligibility back to July of 2012. World Athletics notes her last competition as taking place in 2016.
If the latest sanction sticks, it would leave Russia with just one remaining track and field medalist from the London 2012 Olympics, high jumper Anna Chicherova, who lost her Olympic bronze medal in 2008 for doping.
The repositioning of the podium makes Lashinda Demus, retroactively, the first female Olympic 400m hurdle champion from the U.S. Fellow Americans Dalilah Muhammad and Sydney McLaughlin triumphed in the next two iterations of the event in Rio and Tokyo.
Demus, who finished just .07 seconds behind Antyukh in London, is now set to secure her first Olympic gold medal to go along with her world title from 2011. Pending approval from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Czech runner Zuzana Hejnova will move up from bronze to silver while Jamaica’s Kaliese Spencer will take the last spot on the podium.
“Hearing the news didn’t impact my mood or feelings being that it has been 10 years since it has happened,” Demus wrote in an email on Tuesday. “I have mixed emotions about it all. I do believe that if, in fact, there was doping involved with anyone in the Olympics that they should be stripped of their medal. With everything being said it looks like this is the case for my race. I’m not afraid to say that I then deserve the official title, medal, recognition, and missed compensation that goes along with it all. I wouldn’t want any athlete to go through this same situation and I hope that keeping athletes honest in our sport stays at the forefront for those who sacrifice a good part of their life to be great at it.”
Antyukh joins more than 60 other athletes who have been caught in the re-analysis program over the past two years. One of them is Australian swimmer Brenton Rickard, although the 4×100 medley relay bronze medalist had his doping case dropped last August.
Other Russian Olympic track and field champions from 2012 who have since been disqualified include Mariya Savinova (women’s 800-meter gold), Olga Kaniskina (20 km walk gold), Tatyana Lysenko (hammer gold), and Sergey Kirdyapkin (50 km walk gold), and Ivan Ukhov (high jump gold).