London Eye: Heard about the Olympic 100m final no one won?

 

It has been a week of revelations for track and field Olympians past and present. First came reports that Teddy Tamgho, one of Phillips Idowu's principal rivals for the Olympic triple-jump crown in 2012, had been banned for six months by the French Athletics Federation for an unseemly altercation with an unnamed female athlete at a national training camp. Then Kajsa Bergkvist, the retired Olympic high-jump champion of 2004, caused a stir in Sweden by telling QX magazine that she was a lesbian.

The most intriguing news, however, emerged yesterday from Ukraine. It was hardly the greatest of surprises but its significance could not be overlooked in the countdown to a new Olympic year, as yet another belated doping conviction cast a retrospective shadow on major sprint races that refuse to lie untainted, not to mention unaltered, in the recent history books of the main Olympic sport.

The Ukrainian Athletics Federation announced it was giving Zhanna Block a two-year ban for breaking anti-doping rules in 2002 and 2003. The former rival of Marion Jones had been under investigation by the International Association of Athletics Federations and the Ukrainians since Mark Block, her husband, coach and agent, was given a 10-year ban by a US anti-doping arbitration panel in March after being found guilty of trafficking drugs supplied by Victor Conte's Balco laboratory and giving banned substances to his wife.

In practical terms, it is a token punishment. Zhanna Block is 39 and has been retired since 2006. Nonetheless, confirmation that the speed merchant with the tree-trunk thighs was powered by other than natural means is likely to prompt another revision of the women's 100m final at the 2003 World Championships in Paris.

The result has already been amended to disqualify the original winner, the American Kelli White having been the first athlete unmasked as a cheat in the Balco scandal. Block was promoted from bronze to silver – behind Torri Edwards, an American who tested positive for a banned substance in 2004 but whose 2003 runs were not deemed questionable.

Block's achievements from 2002 and 2003 now stand to be struck from the record books, which puts Chandra Sturrup of the Bahamas in line for an upgrade from third to second and Katerina Thanou in line for promotion from fourth to third. The ruling body, the IAAF, was unavailable to comment yesterday but the prospect of the retired Thanou receiving a medal would be an ironic twist indeed.

Last May Thanou and former training partner Kostas Kenteris were convicted of perjury by a Greek court, relating to an alleged motorbike accident after they fled the Athletes' Village and a drug- testing team on the eve of the 2004 Athens Olympics. The pair were cleared on appeal in September.

Thanou finished second to Jones in the Olympic women's 100m final in Sydney in 2000 but, since disqualifying the American in 2009, the International Olympic Committee has pointedly refused to declare the Greek as the winner.

Block finished fifth in that race, under her maiden name, Pintusevich. She moved up to fourth after Jones' disqualification. Her punishment this week means that four of the first five finishers in that race have now fallen foul of anti-doping laws at some stage of their careers, or in retirement. Merlene Ottey, who placed fourth originally, was given a ban in 1999 that was subsequently overturned by the IAAF.

Eleven years on, officially there is no winner of the ghost race in Sydney.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
A still from a scene cut from The Interview showing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's death.
tech
Voices
'That's the legal bit done. Now on to the ceremony!'
voicesThe fight for marriage equality isn't over yet, says Siobhan Fenton
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
Arts and Entertainment
Bianca Miller and Katie Bulmer-Cooke are scrutinised by Lord Sugar's aide Nick Hewer on The Apprentice final
tvBut Bianca Miller has taken on board his comments over pricing
News
in picturesWounded and mangy husky puppy rescued from dump
News
newsAstonishing moment a kangaroo takes down a drone
Life and Style
Duchess of Cambridge standswith officials outside of the former wartime spy centre in Bletchley Park
tech
News
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'