Why A Wave Of Cynicism Washes In With Yuliya Efimova’s Fast Return From Dope Ban

Yuliya Efimova at the London 2012 Olympic Games before her troubles began - will she be in Rio? - by Patrick B. Kraemer

Editorial: As Yuliya Efimova returned to world-class performances this weekend past (1:05.9 and 2:23.9), a wave of cynicism accompanied her efforts – and skepticism will shadow her for the rest of her career. Little wonder when set against a very short time truly spent out of the system and against a backdrop of weak resolve and negligence when it comes to enforcing the WADA Code, a status that ultimately protects no-one

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Editorial: As Yuliya Efimova returned to world-class performances this weekend past (1:05.9 and 2:23.9), a wave of cynicism accompanied her efforts – and skepticism will shadow her for the rest of her career. Little wonder when set against a very short time truly spent out of the system and against a backdrop of weak resolve and negligence when it comes to enforcing the WADA Code, a status that ultimately protects no-one




Do you know if Efimova was tested at all during her ban?

Recent studies have shown that the benefits of training with PED lasted far longer Eben after an athlete stops taking PED.

If a swimmer was not subject to testing during their ban, theoretically they could have taken PED everyday while training and stops right before their ban ends, and the benefit could still be felt years later or well after 2016 Rio.

Craig Lord

Aswimfan, FINA has yet to publish the 2014 name and number stats … 2013 the last year available… it can’t be long before we know. In general, all banned athletes must submit to testing throughout their suspension periods.
On the lasting ‘benefits’ of PEDS, quite so:


How many athletes who have failed drug tests have been associated with Salo and USC?


Coachy…. there has been at least 3 athletes in recent years associated with that program that have fallen foul of anti doping regulations.


Hard(l)y any!

Excuse the pun, but I couldn’t resist.


Speaking of which – a quote from her wikipedia entry:
“Hardy returned from her suspension on August 5, at the U.S. Open National Championships. On August 6, Hardy broke Yuliya Yefimova’s world record in the 50-meter breaststroke (long course) with a time of 29.95 to become the first woman under 30 seconds in the event.”

Craig Lord

When suits became shiny as shiny could be and the clock placed in a false fast-forward of a different kind, Kurt



What suit did Efimova race in during the World’s in Rome a week prior?

I intended to point at the fact that Hardy delivered a world class swim straight out of suspension as well. [Yes, I am fully aware that we could start to argue about the shorter distance..]


Oussama Mellouli is another athlete that fell foul of anti-doping regulations whilst training at USC.

Craig Lord

An interesting one, Kurt:

She wore full shiny arena for this:

1:05.41 silver 100m (and same for WR and gold in 50)

and a textile standard suit, not a bodysuit for this:

2:26.39 14th in the semis over 200m


Other Trojan Swim Club-trained swimmers that have tested to banned substances include Omar Pinzon and Mads Glaesner, in addition to Efimova, Hardy, and Mellouli.

This is indeed very shocking since Dave Salo is famous for his stance of anti-supplements.


…. Have tested positive to banned substances…..


There’s no good spin on things for Salo, or any coach in this position. Working with elite athletes, one would expect a coach to have an input into, or knowledge of the athlete’s diet. Even if we accept that he had no knowledge of deviant behaviour (intentional or otherwise) the inability to forestall it is a failure itself.

Viva la Bang

Nobody will ever respect any of her future performances, she is a cheat. end of story.

Justin Thompson

Good for Yulia! I respect her performances and wish her the best of luck!

Craig Lord

I’m sure many wish Yuliya the best of luck with her education on matters that she will have known about for many years. Matters that affect the lives of others. What would your message to Rikke Pedersen be, Justin?


Reading some of the comments show that under the lines there are insinuations about Yuliya continuing to abuse the system.
It is hard to believe that after the penalty (soft or not) she will try to damage what is left of her career again. Why would she put herself at risk by cheating again? what I know is that The worlds are at her hometown so she is very motivated to proof hersef in front of her home crowd. I think any elite athlete in her place having that kind of lineancy would have prepared the sameway . Again ,this is my own speculation. 1:05:89! wow! I love to see a picture of her current physical shape.


Imagine the lives of clean competitors that the likes of Armstrong, Jones, Smith-de Bruijn, etc trampled on the way to their medals, dough and fame.

Efimova is a cheater and Salo should have never accepted her back.


Perhaps there were plenty of rea$on$ he accepted her back.

Craig Lord

Jose, forgive me but I think you have misunderstood the general thrust of argument: as I understand the comments of others they are referring to what happened when they says ‘cheat’, however any of us wish to interpret that…. and in terms of whether she is working within the system to the letter of the rule now, the point is not to suggest she is taking banned substances to swim 1:05 and 2:23 upon her return; the point is to ask ‘how does a swimmer supposedly out of any official training and contact with professional back up and facilities for 7 months, then return to training for two months and go 1:05 and 2:23?’ It is a legitimate question, one that raises several issues, like ‘what’s the point in Dave Salo and others of that ilk if she can do this without him (assuming she has)?’ and ‘where are the rest of the world’s world-class breaststroke swimmers going so wrong that in Feb/March 2015, with full seasons and winters of prep behind them, with no interruption in the flow of their approach to world-titles and then Olympic seasons, only a handful are about as fast over a 200 and none come close to the 100m put in by Efimova. Of course, the answer may well be that she has never been away at all, by the looks of it, even though the rule is – you don’t get back into training in affiliated and professional circumstances until 2 months before your ban is due to end. And if it were the case that she has been receiving professional help from any affiliated to and working with programs ultimately affiliated with FINA down the chain of affiliations, then rules have been broken again. I have asked the question of those who can supply the answers – I await replies…


Thanks for clarifying the point of the argument.
What can be done to prevent that an athlete who has been suspended does not train or prepare like “apparently” she has done without any financial or coaching support ?
Sorry if if my previous comments were out of line or offensive.


I personally think what Trojan and Salo has done (if they indeed accept Efimova back) undermined the good effort by USA Swimming and USADA in the fight against doping and weakened their example.

Now, the russians, the chinese what have you can just point out to Trojan SC in continuing to provide support to their banned swimmers.

Craig Lord

Jose, your comments weren’t offensive, I was just clarifying some of my points. To my mind, if anti-doping authorities are genuine in their wish to fight for clean sport, then in some regards they must take a forensic approach. That means that if they have a photo of a banned doctor at a major international event and clear evidence that a second offence has occurred (as is the case with Dr Ba Zhen) they should go after it and nail the rule to the wall for all to see (that’s what the rule is there for – to be enforced)… and in cases such as Yuliya Efimova’s I would encourage anti-doping authorities to pay attention to what happens next when athletes return: two months was what she should have had back in full training, while two world-class mid-season times is what we got. I think it legitimate for a controls officer or similar role to be be a part of FINA and WADA anti-doping rules. The questions I sent to Dave Salo are the questions such an officer should be asking. It is a question of follow-up. Some argue that ‘trust’ plays a part in all such things. Yes, it does… but history tells us that it is not enough.


Just as with Sun Yang, while he has banned by Swimming Australia from teraining at Miami, he was in fact being trained by proxy by one of Cotterell’s assistants who left the club for personal reasons.

Whether she was at Trojan facilities or elsewhere, there is the possibility she was assisted directly or in directly by Salo. That is what is needing to be confirmed….

Craig Lord

I have sought confirmation from Dave Salo, Aussiebob – no reply so far but then it is a busy time of the year. We wait patiently.

Tim Wheyster


Why would she put herself at risk by cheating again ? Really ??

Why would she cheat in the first place if she had the moral compass which you seem to elude to ?
She cheated but probably didn’t think she’d get caught. If she’d accepted her punishment with dignity and within the letter of the law she wouldn’t now be rubbing her fellow swimmers noses in it by going 1.05 etc after what was supposed to be very little training. I suspect that she has therefore flouted the rules again one way or another, so where do you think her line in the sand in respect of gaining an unfair advantage is now then ??

The paper tiger approach to doping in swimming needs to change soon, otherwise the sport will lose its credibility in the same way as cycling did (amongst others..)

I look forward to booing her along with the rest of the cheats in Kazan later in the year.


Couldn’t agree more with Whesyter above.

If Efimova were repentant, she would not have used funds from her federation, or trained in affiliated-facilities etc.

Efimova is a cheater through and through.


And it is a double standard to throw dirt at chinese swimmers but give Efimova the benefit of the doubt just because she trains with Salo.

Craig Lord

aswimfan, it is fair to note that double standards do exist when it comes to judging cases, programs and nations … fair, too, to note that China has been better than some others at the helm of the sport when it comes to imposing penalties and removing those who tested positive… coaches included. China, like others, has also contributed to obfuscation and falling shy of doing the right thing and following and enforcing the WADA Code. That Dr Ba Zhen made it to Incheon speaks volumes about a lack of commitment to clean sport and the WADA Code, by the athlete in question, by the doctor in question and by the federation he travelled with, a federation that includes a FINA Bureau member who should step in and get done the job of enforcing the WADA Code.

Justin Thompson

Craig, I had no intentions to give a message to Rikke, but since you asked it would be stay true to yourself and keep looking forward. Don’t get caught up in things you cannot change or have no control over.



What a great idea! Let’s send your message to all victims of crimes all over the world. I’m sure they’ll be much happier. If only the people of North Korea stay true to themselves and keep looking forward.

Justin Thompson

Aswimfan, I doubt Rikke has suffered to the extent of the communist oppressed North Koreans so you can dial back the drama.

Craig Lord

Thanks Justin, though your answer is pale. It is as if to say to someone who had their home burgled: come on, stop whining … don’t get caught up in things you cannot change or have no control over. I guess you’d have said the same to Shirley Babashoff? I’m sure that Rikke has done all she can to set it aside, in common with so many others robbed of their moment down the years (indeed Babashoff did that when she brought that 76 relay home but she still got written up as Surly Shirley). The ability ‘not to get caught up’ in things they can’t control is a skill well honed by top athletes. A fine thing, but that doesn’t set right what was wrong. Your cheerleading for an athlete who served just 7 months, officially, out of training for falling foul of one of the highest category of offences is something that many find unpalatable, particularly at a moment where she sends a msg to her rivals that says ‘see, this made no difference to me – you trained through and I’ve been back for just two months – and I’m more than a second faster than any of you over just two laps… yippee’. Many simply don’t feel like saying yippee, Justin – including many who love swimming and see the sport being damaged by big profile cases served lenient penalties when unknowns from Iran, Colombia and elsewhere get ‘two years and shut up’.


I wished I could liked CL’s above post a millions over. He wrote succinctly what I was trying to say.

Bad Anon

Just to digress a bit to make a point, Kirsty Coventry”s return to competitive swimming saw her clocking 2.13 in the 200back, 2.15 200IM and 1.02 in 100back after 6months training at swimMac. and Efimova to come back and shoot to the top of the rankings is quite distasteful for lack of a better word. Definitely shows there is more than what meets the eye

Justin Thompson

Craig, I appreciate and respect your points but my opinion is my own. I’m not trying to get others to say “yippee” instead I’m just stating how I feel. I’m guessing it’s OK to take a different stance than the author?

What I’m more interested in is why Aswimfan takes a hard line on Yuliya, but seems relatively quiet on the other offenders? Is it a country thing? You called her a cheater before she was even found guilty. Please do tell Aswimfan…or maybe Craig can make your point for you.

Craig Lord

Justin, you guessed right – you may indeed take a different stance and you will indeed be told why I beg to differ, it being my website, and why I think you’re wrong when it comes to important matters like doping and other issues where innocent people get hurt. I’m sure aswimfan will have taken on board what you have to say. As for ‘guilty’, all world-class athletes who test positive are guilty of something, even if its just stupidity.


Don’t let up on this Craig.
Keep hounding Dave Salo until you get a response.
Keep hounding FINA until they crawl out from that rock they’re hiding under and properly address so many of these discrepancies when it comes to doping.


Efimonva, Jessica Hardy and Ousamma Mellouli – I think David Salo has a problem.

Jim C

Two months before Feb. 28 would be either Dec. 28 or Dec. 31 or perhaps something in between. In any case, she would have been able to train for all of January, all of February and roughly the 2/3 of March prior to the meet. This comes to more than 2 months as far as I can see.

Mikal W Grass

Craig, excellent points. Hopefully Salo will answer the posed questions, though I doubt it.

Isn’t FINA or some other body retesting the samples that they have from Beijing or London with updated testing procedures? I wonder whom will be caught.

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