'Cheated out of moments I can never get back'

A report outlining evidence of systematic doping in Russian athletics struck close to home for US middle-distance runner Alysia Montano, who could find herself with an Olympic bronze medal when the dust of the scandal settles. Montano finished fifth in the 800m at the 2012 London Games.

Mariya Savinova (centre) and Ekaterina Poistogova (R), seen here after winning the gold and the bronze medals at the 800m race in the 2012 Olympics.   -  Reuters

A report outlining evidence of systematic doping in Russian athletics struck close to home for US middle-distance runner Alysia Montano, who could find herself with an Olympic bronze medal when the dust of the scandal settles. Montano finished fifth in the 800m at the 2012 London Games.

Gold medalist Mariya Savinova and bronze medalist Ekaterina Poistogova are among the five athletes that an independent investigating panel says should be banned for life from the sport.

In a Periscope video posted on Twitter on Monday, an emotional Montano says she's “very hopeful” that the Olympic bronze will come to her, perhaps along with bronze medals from the 2011 and 2013 world championships. But it's not just about the medals, said Montano, still competing at 29 after giving birth to a daughter last year.

“It's about you putting out honest time, energy and emotion and being cheated out of it,” she said. “You can't ever get back those moments. You can't replace those feelings that, maybe, I would've been able to experience at the time.” Former World Anti-Doping Agency chief Richard Pound, who headed the three-man commission that investigated charges of Russian doping first brought in a German television documentary, said the extent of cheating was “worse than we thought.”

The report called for Russia's athletics body to be declared non-compliant with the world anti-doping code and suspended, including from next year's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Montano, based in Valencia, California, north of Los Angeles, said the findings were no surprise. “It's something a lot of us have known was going on in the sport for a long time,” she said. “Without any proof, you're just pointing fingers.”

In addition to the video, Montano posted on Twitter a series of photographs of Savinova celebrating various international victories. “Cheated out of moments I can never get back,” Montano wrote. She added, however, that after the first jolt of reading the report had passed, she was looking forward to training with “motivation, electricity and fire.”

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