Olga Yegerova, rus
Yegerova had failed a drugs test for the banned protein hormone Erythropoietin (EPO) after a Grand Prix event in Paris. She was at first banned from competing at the 2001 World Athletics Championships in Edmonton, but this ban was lifted after it was found that the correct procedures had not been followed and a subsequent test cleared the Russian of EPO abuse. The first to react was the Romanian Gaby Szabo, who announced she would boycott the 5000 metres event if Yegerova ran.
Maybe Yegerova should have withdrawn herself from the event, but she didn't, prompting the British athletes Paula Radcliffe & Hayley Tullet to appear in the stadium holding a placard with 'EPO drug cheats out' scrawled on it.
Yegerova ran in the 5000 metres and won by a fair distance. Szabo trailed in back in 8th place & promptly called Yegerova a robot. The sight of the Russian fleeing from the track, with only the Ethiopian bronze medal winner Worko offering any comfort as a few spectators jeered was heartbreaking - especially as she very well could be innocent.
The prejudice continued as commentators on both the BBC & Eurosport said the crowd were booing Yegerova. The commentators branded the Russian, who speaks no English a cheat. Glum faced athletes like Brendan Foster, Katherine Merry & Sally Gunnell carped endlessly about 'the image of athletics being permanently damaged' after she won Gold.
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