Yuliya Efimova*: She’s Back, Says Lawyer, As He Beats FINA On ‘Free to go To Rio’ Ruling

Yuliya Efimova by Patrick B. Kraemer

FINA doping announcements are made by the lawyers of those who have tested positive for banned substances these days, it seems: according to TASS, the Russian news agency citing the legal representative of Yuliya Efimova, the Russian has been returned to the status of a swimmer with one asterisk by her name not two and will be free to race at the Rio Olympic Games even though many of her compatriots from track and field who never tested positive for a banned substance will not be eligible.

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FINA doping announcements are made by the lawyers of those who have tested positive for banned substances these days, it seems: according to TASS, the Russian news agency citing the legal representative of Yuliya Efimova, the Russian has been returned to the status of a swimmer with one asterisk by her name not two and will be free to race at the Rio Olympic Games even though many of her compatriots from track and field who never tested positive for a banned substance will not be eligible.



So it’s confirmed then. This has been one big mess and it’s bad for swimming and anti doping in general. WADA are very culpable for opening the door in the first place with the, “It’s ok if it’s only a little bit,” clause, which gave FINA the opportunity to wash its hands of the affair. The other swimmers will be disgusted, I’m sure.


Any confirmation other than Tass?

Craig Lord

From her lawyer and her agent, cited by TASS and AFP, one citing Robert Fox, pegasus. 3 hours on and nothing from the people who made the decision and had the timing of this in their own hands in terms of being ready to release and react… appalling but then we are talking FINA. Assuming the Russians are not fibbing to news agencies, we have to assume that FINA was simply not ready for this or does not understand the impact of such things on clean athletes and programs that they say they working for.


CL– holding out as you can tell, that RUS is trying to get ahead of the truth. That’s the playbook, as you know. If only NFs could bar these Felon’s from membership. Would that violate the Osaka ban?

Ulian Drumov

With or without Efimova,Ruta will be Olympic Champion

Craig Lord

Perhaps, perhaps not, Pegasus – but I do think this – the Osaka rule was there for a reason and it was a good reason. I think it fair to say, based on the evidence from swimming, that CAS, generally speaking, too often helps to keep doping in Olympic sport (particularly when it comes to ‘stars’ with lawyers) – while being a body that exists in the main for … football (soccer)… the sport that accounts for the bulk of all activity. Time for WADA/IOC and others set to gather beyond the Games to press for a return to saying ‘test positive and the entire Olympic cycle is your penalty’. Company directors struck off for doing things that are not always beyond the law but undesirable nonetheless (and apt to hurt people) get an average of 6 years ban from being a company director in many European nations (not sure what averages are elsewhere). Sport should follow suit.

Craig Lord

She IS Olympic champion, Ulian – and no-one can take that away…


Its time for all the athletes to make a stand and refuse to compete against these proven cheats, maybe that is the only answer, It has turned into a joke the whole circus!


When WADA announced that they pushed back the deadline for meldonium threshold to august this year, FINA (and all sporting federations) suddenly had no ground to stand.

It’s all a mess.


So FINA was slow in releasing the statement of their own decision… this is not new, right?
When has FINA not been slow in handling important parts of their job?
How many pending WRs and JWRs are on their desk waiting for verification?
When are they going rule on using underwater camera to review DQ disputes?

Craig Lord

Yes, gheko, I’m afraid it has come to that. As the coach to Sarah Hardcastle, Mike Higgs, a man who recalls well what it was like to work through the years of the GDR and women swimming min Europe and the world, told me yesterday: ‘She should not be made welcome on the poolside … Wish I was there !’ If FINA, WADA and the IOC cannot provide the clean and open environment required, they should expect a response from the players who feel cheated by systemic weakness that dates back decades.


For all the moral indignation, you are highly unlikely to ever see a significant boycott from top level sportspeople of a major event unless their own direct personal security is endangered.

Why ?? Apart from the core reason of “self interest” and thus reluctance to forgo a major title; its very likely that many are somewhat less certain than they would portray.

In essence, the only person for whom they have complete knowledge of what they may/may not be taking/using is themselves. They MAY have a reasonable read on their other training squad members but unless they are actually living with them 24/7, it is highly unlikely this knowledge will be complete.

What of their national team-mates; those they may share relay duties with ? Are they themselves availing themselves of TUE’s for various meds; do they know of others doing so ?? How does this then gell with their proud public proclamations ??

What percentage are NOT using “supplements” and just how well are these substances being “policed”/vetted by their sports med/local anti-doping before use ?

Regrettably, the answers to many of these questions may not be as overwhelmingly “positive” (from a pure perspective) as many would hope.

Craig Lord

CW, perhaps so – but some things are clear: banned substances. In all the musings, we need never to forget that, all of what you write not just reasonable discussion but fodder for cheats – and therefore it needs to be accompanied by a good degree of support for the likes of that Rudd quote. It is something well beyond moral indignation; it is about you waking up this morning to find your house has been plundered and the police saying, sorry, we know who did it but we can’t do anything about it, live with it. Your response would not speak to moral indignation, CW – and neither does the response of Rudd and others who will doubtless have something to say on this. I notice that every time a story like this breaks, it is liked and shared by a significant number of Australian swimmers: they feel it, for all of what you say in your note. The lack of ‘protest’ has more to do with the threat inherent in the governance structure of Olympic sports than any fear of ‘I wonder if he’s taking the same supplement as me’…


But Craig, my point is …… just how many are so lilly white pure so as to pass minute scrutiny ??

In all honesty, not nearly as many as we would like as, like most professionals, there is always at least the perception of gaining every minute possible gain possible for as long as its legal.

As for Australians, I make no aspersions as to what they may or may not be doing as I have no direct knowledge of their programs. What I will say is AUS sportspeople are no more, or less, moral/ethical than any others.



They weren’t exactly steadfastly condemning one of their own last year, were they ? Oh yes, Palmer got off ….. but due to procedural errors not a finding of innocence. We never DID get any explanation as to why furosemide was found in her sample.

As for sports governance, in many ways we’re singing from a similar hymn sheet albeit my view is far starker than yours. I’m not too sure how salvageable many international sporting bodies are (including IOC & WADA) nor whether there will be the public “care factor” for rebuilding from the ashes for many of these.

Kim Simonsen

Not everyday swimming is top news in Denmark – Rikke Møller Pedersen is not pleased with the decision.

Craig Lord

Sure, CW but I really cannot agree that that is a sound argument for falling shy of combating what we know to be wrong, namely those who have tested positive, have fallen foul of the Code but for whom the system has an open door policy. In extremis, saying ‘we’ve all got a murderer in us somewhere when we get angry as humans’ does not excuse and should not excuse the real thing. I’m sure you get that point, too. As for more or less ethical, we are talking systems not people here. And it is for many people to put in place a system that works for the better not the worse. And not all systems and programs are equal: some are clearly filthy and when we find them we should call it for what it is, regardless of the potential for problems elsewhere. I’m just not a fan of the shrug of inevitability that means we end up accepting the wholly unacceptable.

Craig Lord

CW – no, we never did get an explanation but thas hardly surprising under the circumstances… had the system worked then the swimmer would have been informed an awful lot sooner than she was and might have been able to offer that explanation (regardless of how that might have been regarded under those circumstances). The fact is that the system failed.
I agree with you on governance – but survival will depend on the fight in people to force change. Some hope but too many reasons to be pessimistic, right now.

Craig Lord

Indeed not. To be expected. And she isn’t alone, Kim.


I think the anti-doping agencies have messed up pretty badly here. As I understand it, meldonium was banned (after being put on the observation list), but without any real understanding of how the metabolism and excretion of the thing works, and therefore how long it would persist in peoples’ bodies. Without such information it is very difficult to have any fair guidelines, and you leave yourself open to this kind of circus that is now happening.

It’s particularly bad when there are clearly such egregious examples and serious issues to be tackled about doping, which Craig raises (everytime I read Marlescu’s comments about ‘minor doping incidents’ I cringe). Not defending Efimova, or claiming she’s innocent, or agreeing that SLC labs had been negligent: but it seems that if WADA etc knew what they were talking about, then much of the smoke around this disappears and people can concentrate on fighting the fires. (Horrible metaphor, sorry)

Craig Lord

Yes, stabilo, too many mistakes on the official side. There’s no disputing, of course, that WADA experts are sticking to their guns on Meldonium being a performance enhancer; no disputing it is a banned substance this year; no disputing it has led to a star tennis player being banned; but the issue and research that could/would have told them when to set the clock ticking should have been though about and carried out in intelligent fashion. It wasn’t. What a mess because the end result is that athletes who have taken banned substances this year will get to compete at the Olympic Games. The clean Games messages the IOC would like to promote is dead in the water.


CW – Hope you read my belated response. to your statement: “What I will say is AUS sportspeople are no more, or less, moral/ethical than any others.”

I think in this instance you have it completely wrong. As you, I have dual origins and believe I am realistic in my assessment of the relative degree of moral/ethical behaviors of Athletes and Coaches on a country by country basis.

As pointed out before the degree of doping and doping cover-up by country correlates fairly precisely with the country by country corruption index:

Currently Australia ranked 7 (score 79) and Russia by example ranked 119 (score 29).
No surprise that the attitude and level of corruption of athletes in a country is largely determined by the general level of corruption in the country which is in turn mostly determined by the attitude and tolerance for corruption shown by leaders.

While there will always be individuals who will self justify the use of PEDs in any country (the “everyone else is doing it self- justification”), I believe that AUS sports people generally uphold the free and fair play principles and are proud to do so.

ASADA and Australian National sports federations also strongly support those principles with extensive testing and education programs. I personally know of an Athlete who has had 5 surprise out of competition tests (3 ASADA, 2 WADA) since making the team for RIO in April.

Interestingly, per the 2014 WADA report (latest), Australian has one of the highest number of Non-Analytical ADRV Cases for 2014 at 19. A Non-Analytical ADRV is where evidence other than a blood or a urine test has resulted in a Anti Doping Rule Violation ie generally a person has been dobbed in or reported by someone else. Contrast that with China who reported zero.

A Non-Analytical ADRV covers:
• Article 2.2 – Use or attempted use of a prohibited substance or a prohibited method
• Article 2.3 – Refusing or failing without compelling justification to submit to sample collection or evading
• Article 2.4 – Whereabouts violation (including any combination of three missed tests and/or filing failures within an 18-month period)
• Article 2.5 – Tampering or attempted tampering with any part of doping control
• Article 2.6 – Possession of prohibited substances and prohibited methods
• Article 2.7 – Trafficking or attempted trafficking in any prohibited substance or prohibited method
• Article 2.8 – Administration or attempted administration of any prohibited method or prohibited substance or assisting, encouraging, aiding, abetting, covering up, etc.

Hope I have not bored anyone with my explanation above, but in summary, I know that AUS athletes generally are more moral and ethically in their behaviour than most other competing countries supported by:
• A culture of fair play
• An extensive regime of education and testing
• Open and transparent disclosure and condemnation of transgressors

Craig Lord

BoetMate – you make several points above that are as uncomfortable as they are accurate and good. The world and its humans therein are not equal on the moral and ethical compass – clearly not.

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