The UK's favorite all-around female athlete had something to say to The Ukraine's doping heptathlete Lyudmila Blonska: "You cheating cow". Yes, Britain's Kelly Sotherton offers her 'high' opinion of the bovine-ous Ukrainian opponent (cow photo below right). To the Daily Mail:
But behind that simple confirmation of how close the 32-year-old came to adding to Britain's impressive medal haul in China lies a story of deceit, dismay and bitter disappointment that only now, five months later, has Sotherton been able to tell.
When the two days of competition in the heptathlon ended, Sotherton found herself placed a disappointing fifth in the final standings. In the aftermath of the event, it was revealed that silver medallist Lyudmila Blonska had failed a drug test for testosterone Blonska was thrown out of the Games and subsequently banned for life, along with her husband and coach, Sergii Blonskyi.
Sotherton had seen this cheating heart before:
Last week, Sotherton revealed to The Mail on Sunday exactly how blatant and cynical Blonska's behaviour in Beijing had been.
Sotherton said that she became suspicious of her rival when she saw the Ukrainian being handed something by her husband as the competitors walked into the stadium to take part in the heptathlon's long jump.
And the painful doping exposed:
'During our long jump event in Beijing I saw Blonska take something,' said Sotherton. 'I was sitting next to her during the event, watching her doing it and thinking: "You cheating cow".
'It had started when we were called out of the holding room for the long jump and I saw her husband, who's also her coach, hand her something. We were walking out in single file, with the judges in the front, and he just back-handed her something in a tissue.
'I thought, "I'm going to sit next to you and see you do it. You're cheating. I know you are". I followed her right to the long jump - maybe that's why I messed up my own long jump - and she had a phial. Maybe it was the thing that should have masked her drugs or a stimulant. But she was taking something.
'It had happened before at the World Indoor Championships in Valencia. Then her husband threw something to her (from the crowd), which you can't do. I didn't see it but all the coaches did and thought it was wrong, but no one reported it. When he did the same again in Beijing, I reported it to the British team and they notified the athletics authorities, the IAAF, and they found something in the warm-up area.'
Blonska cheating at the Beijing Olympic Games, blatant manipulation of the rules and ignorance of the integrity of the Games. However, like many cheats, she posed as the persecuted:
'Maybe she thought she was going to get away with it,' said Sotherton. 'But a couple of hours later she was testing positive. When I spoke out against her in 2007, I think people thought I was out of turn and that I should have been looking forward to getting my bronze medal instead of talking about someone I know is cheating.
'But everyone who had said that I ought to be quiet then came up to me this year and said: "Oh you were right!" Even the organiser from the most important multi-events meeting in Gotzis (Konrad Lerch) said: "Kelly, you knew, didn't you? You did a good job speaking out". He obviously felt remorseful as he had let her back into his meeting.
Sotherton appears to have come to terms with the cheating. The article closes as such:
'There is nothing you can do about it. Cheating is part of life. There will always be cheating but you know what your medals represent. I just think that if you believe you can do it clean, do it.'
Sotherton has at least scored that small victory. 'I got my fourth-placed certificate from the Olympics this week,' she said. 'I had to fight to get it because they weren't going to give another certificate out. But I never came fifth. I came fourth.'
Interesting how many cheats have been revealed over the past few weeks: R-Rod, Bonds, and the Olympians...