Whistleblower still carries Olympic dream

Mon May 9, 2016 11:55pm EDT
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By Gene Cherry

(Reuters) - Even through all the turmoil that forced Yuliya Stepanova to flee her native Russia with her husband, the whistleblower has not given up hope of competing at the Rio Olympics in August.

Evidence provided by Stepanova and her husband Vitaly, a former Russian anti-doping agency employee, formed part of an investigation that led to Russian athletics being suspended from international competition.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Council will decide on June 17 whether to reinstate Russian athletics, paving the way for the sports super power to compete in Rio.

The governing body's council will also act on a request by Stepanova, who served a two-year doping ban, to run in Rio under the International Olympic Committee flag and to return to international competition.

Obviously, the 800 meters runner would not be welcome to run for Russia.

"It would be a dream come true to be an Olympian, something I had always hoped to do," Stepanova, with her husband translating, told Reuters in a telephone interview on Monday.

"If the best place I can get is the last place, I would still be happy."

Twice daily the 29-year-old trains in the hope that word from the IAAF and IOC will be positive.   Continued...

Yuliya Rusanova of Russia competes during the woman's 800 metres semi-final heat 1 at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu September 2, 2011.   REUTERS/Michael Dalder