Russian Olympian questions why athletes aren't allowed to take drugs

Former 400m runner Tatyana Firova says sportspeople wouldn't be able to "achieve high results" without using banned substances

Tatyana Firova (Photo: Alba Rincon/CC2.0)

Three-time Olympic silver medallist Tatyana Firova questioned why athletes aren't allowed to take banned substances, saying sportspeople wouldn't be able to "achieve high results" without them.

Firova, a former 400m runner, was revealed last month to be one of the athletes to retrospectively fail a drugs test dating back to the Beijing 2008 Games.

In an interview with Sky News, (opens in new tab) Firova declined to comment when asked whether she had taken banned drugs, but did go on to question why doping is prohibited when a "normal person" can take drugs.

"A normal person can take banned substances if they want to," she told Sky's John Sparks. "So why can't athletes take them as well. How else can we achieve high results?"

In total, 54 athletes tested positive in tests conducted on samples from the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. From the 31 who tested positive from the Beijing samples, 14 were from Russia.

Highlights of the Cycling Weekly doping debate

The International Amateur Athletics Federation is considering whether to allow Russian track and field athletes to compete in Rio this August. But clean athletes from the country are urging the governing body not to impose such sanctions.

"Of course I am worried [about not attending], I have been preparing for a long time. I am a young, clean athlete," world champion high jumper Mariya Kuchina told Sky.

"Why should I have to miss the Olympics? I really don't understand this."

Track cyclist Ekaterina Gnidenko was one of eight Russians to return a positive test from the London 2012 Games, it was revealed this month.

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Stuart Clarke is a News Associates trained journalist who has worked for the likes of the British Olympic Associate, British Rowing and the England and Wales Cricket Board, and of course Cycling Weekly. His work at Cycling Weekly has focused upon professional racing, following the World Tour races and its characters.