Doping Re-offense of a Former Olympic Champion Leads to Life Ban

Turkish track athlete Asli Cakir Alptekin was found doping for the third time, leading to a sentence of a lifetime ban from competition in track and field.

The first time Asli was caught doping was in 2004, when she was 19-years old and competed in the IAAF World Junior Championships. The punishment she received was a two-year ban.

Asli Cakir Alptekin at the 2012 London Olympics Games (Source AP Photos).

Over a decade later, investigators found that she was guilty for doping again. As a result, she lost her 2012 Olympic and European gold medals in the women’s 1500m. She also received an eight-year ban from track and field, issued by the Turkish athletics federation. The race was considered ‘the dirtiest race in history’, because six of the nine top finishers were using illegal performance enhancing substances to optimize their performance.  The ban she received was later reduced to four years, because she agreed to work with anti-doping authorities. In 2017, she was again caught doping, although the nature of the offence has not been made public, she received a lifetime ban.

It makes you wonder how effective the current disciplinary actions are for doping cases, enforced by athletic authorities. Why is it that athletes who return to play after serving a sentence for their actions re-offend again? Maybe something in the system of how organizations handle doping cases should be changed to create a more long-term, permanent solution. If athletes consider a few years of suspension from their sport as merely a slap on the wrist, then they will dope again, just like Asli did.


Featured image: Asli Cakir Alptekin receives life ban from repeated doping. (Source: Chang W. Lee/The New York Times)

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