It's been an amazing year for doping, and doping-related stories, huge volume of stories coming out from all sides with Russia at the forefront. I'm Reuters Sports Editor for Europe, Mitch Phillips, and I've been covering athletics in the Olympic movement for a long time, I've never seen anything like this year.
One of the reasons that so many cases have come to the fore this time, is the retesting program that the IFC have put in place. Retesting samples from 2008 to 2012 with around 100 positive tests, many medal winners. So we're seeing doping that people got away with, a long time ago, and advances in detection have shown up more tests.
And also now, we've exposed a state-sponsored doping system in Russia, which we are now seeing over an amazing scale, with a thousand athletes. So, the volume is, and the scale of it is unprecedented for sure. Well the big event for 2017 worldwide is the World Athletics Championships. And the question will be, will Russia be allowed back into that?
And that's probably the the number one doping question for the year, but the revelations are set to continue. Maria Sharapova's an interesting case, because she said she'd been using meldonium when it was legal for ten years. And then continued to use it after it became illegal, and she was banned.
She had her ban cut, or shortened this year, but she was still guilty of using a banned substance. She's the highest paid sports woman in the world, and her revelation at the start of the year was a shocker. She claimed it was all accidental, and that it was everybody else's fault for not making it clear to her that this was a now an illegal drug.
But interesting bit to wonder why an athlete of such an elite level feels the need a drug like that for ten years. You wonder if that's a healthy way to approach being a professional sportsman or sportswoman.