Direct from the Honolulu Advertiser comes the breaking news that Russia’s Lyubov Denisova — who won $67K in running a course record 2:27:19 at Honolulu in Dec. 2006 – has tested positive for an elevated testosterone-to-epitestosterone level. Following the ‘A’ sample finding, the ‘B’ sample was also confirmed positive. Denisova most recently placed 7th at the B.A.A. Boston Marathon.
The finding was confirmed by her manager Andrey Baranov who stated: “”She went to the Internet to save money on something you would normally get at a GNC. She read that it would increase her oxygen capacity and increase muscle strength, and she thought that it was legal to use. Her English is limited so she didn’t understand. She should have called me or the Russian Federation, but she didn’t. There are no excuses, though. She takes responsibility for this. She knows she is responsible for everything she puts in her body.”
The Russian Track & Field Federation could suspend Denisova from three months to a year according to Baranov. The IAAF, of which Russia is a member, takes a dimmer view of these transgressions. Typically, it would impose a two-year ban which doesn’t bode well for the 35 year-old Denisova. Such a ban no doubt would jeapordize her contract with Nike.
The World Anit-Doping Agency conducted the test at Denisova’s home in Florida in March, three months after Honolulu. Organizers of that event are rightly miffed as there’s no way to retrieve the $67K or incentive cash paid to Denisova.
Organizers of the three races she ran since March are in a better position. When the finding and penalty are officially announced, Denisova’s results will be expunged from the More Magazine Half Marathon Relay (NY), which she won; the Cooper River Bridge Run 10K (SC) where she placed 7th; and the B.A.A. Boston Marathon, where she also placed 7th and won $9K.
The official position of Boston organizers is to let the results stand until an official announcement is made. With prize money extending 15 deep, the announcement would move everybody up a spot from places 8 thru 16. California’s Kelly Flathers -who went home with a goose egg after placing 16th in 2:43:25 -would move into the 15th position and receive $1.5K.