I have written to the Chair of the British Olympic Association, Seb Coe, and the President of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, regarding Motherwell local Yvonne Mooney’s upgrading of her Olympic medal from bronze to silver after it was found that the gold medal winner was found guilty of doping five years later.
I have asked that the IOC considers taking the necessary steps to strip all historical medals and titles of athletes found guilty of doping at any point in their career and that Seb Coe makes representations to the IOC to this affect. I believe this is essential for securing justice, deterring future acts of doping and preserving the integrity of sporting disciplines.
You can read the content of my letters below.
Dear Lord Coe / Mr Bach,
I am writing to you to make representations on behalf of my constituent, Yvonne Mooney (formerly Murray), in relation to recent events regarding doping.
Mrs Mooney won bronze in the 3000m at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. The athlete who took gold was a Soviet runner, Tatyana Samolenko, who was found guilty of doping five years later.
Yet, despite this, Ms Samolenko and indeed all other athletes found guilty of doping, was allowed to retain her historical accolades and was not stripped of her Olympic medals she won before being found guilty of doping. I believe this to be a severe miscarriage of justice.
In letters from Kit McConnell, the Sports Director of the International Olympic Committee, he stated that although Samolenko was found guilty in 1993, there is no way of proving that she was guilty of doping when she won her gold medal in 1988.
I have two issues with this. The first being that Ms Samolenko is likely to have been doping at the peak of her performance. Secondly and more importantly, any athlete who is found guilty of doping has brought the name of sport and their discipline into disrepute. They are undeserving of holding the title of Olympic Champion and should therefore have all historical awards stripped of them.
When we consider the recent events of a possible state-sponsored doping programme in Russia, it is clear that doping has been a prominent and ongoing issue within sports. Despite all action taken by the IOC to rectify the problem, some athletes are persistent.
I understand that banning all athletes from Russia from partaking in the 2016 Rio Olympics was considered as a form of action to punish perpetrators and deter future athletes from engaging in the practice. I believe that removing all historical medals of disgraced athletes would contribute greatly to the deterrence of doping in sports.
We must also consider the great efforts of athletes like Yvonne who have trained their entire lives to compete fairly against their competitors. We cannot allow doping athletes to retain their titles. We must make sure that those who have demonstrated both ability and sportsmanlike conduct are recognised for their qualities.
I ask that the IOC considers taking the necessary steps to strip all historical medals and titles of athletes found guilty of doping at any point in their career. I believe this is essential for securing justice, deterring future acts of doping and preserving the integrity of sporting disciplines.
Marion Fellows MP