Liliya Shobukhova Russia 2:25:56
Liliya Shobukhova Russia 2:20:25
Liliya Shobukhova Russia 2:18:20
Atsede Baysa Ethiopia 2:22:03
Rita Jeptoo Kenya 2:19:57
Rita Jeptoo Kenya 2:24:35
This is a list of the last six Chicago Marathon winners. Technically, Shobukhova is still in the appeals process and Jeptoo is awaiting the results on her “B” sample. Regardless, I’d say we have a problem.
However, it gets even better. A recent story in L’Equipe suggests three-time winner Liliya Shobukhova paid the Russian track federation more than $600,000 to avoid a doping suspension. Eventually, they suspended her anyways and she asked for her bribe back. Thus far, she has received about $400,000 back.
As you can imagine, reclaiming prize money isn’t very easy. Nick Bitel, CEO of the London Marathon and general counsel for World Marathon Majors stated:
“If Liliya Shobukhova’s results are expunged, then, she would be liable to repay her prize money and the London Marathon could take legal action to recover the same, although there would be the usual difficulties of recovering money in an overseas jurisdiction.”
Expunged results have not led to higher payouts for clean athletes. This is likely due to IAAF rule 40.8, which says:
“[Prize money] shall be re-allocated to the athlete(s) who placed behind the ineligible athlete in the relevant event(s) or competition(s) only if and when all the forfeited prize money has been repaid by the ineligble athlete to the relevant person or entity.”
So what can be done? The World Marathon Majors recently suggested it’s payout ($500,000) could be distributed in installments. Other ideas:
– races could obtain doping insurance to ensure that clean athletes are paid the appropriate amounts
– races could work with respective countries to ensure there is a method for recovering fraudulently-obtained prize money
– lifetime bans, even for first-time offenders
– eliminate all doping rules
What do you think is the best way to handle this situation?