Stories

Doping cheats athletes of glory — and big paydays

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

When American shot-putter Adam Nelson learned he had won the 2004 Olympic gold medal, he didn't feel elation —he could only contemplate what he had lost. That's because his triumph was confirmed in a laboratory years later, when the International Olympic Committee determined that the man he lost to, Ukraine's Yuriy Bilonoh, used steroids to win. Nelson got his medal in 2013 during a rushed meeting with an IOC official outside Burger King at the Atlanta Airport.

Why it matters: In 2016, the IOC disclosed that doping cheats had robbed dozens of athletes of their deserved medals. For many of those vindicated, any thrill has been clipped by the reality of lost windfalls.