Justin Gatlin and Tyson Gay should be banned from the Olympic Games, along with all other convicted doping cheats, United States middle distance runner Alysia Montaño claimed here today.
The 29-year-old, a six-time USA Outdoor champion and winner of a bronze medal in the 800 metres the 2010 World Indoor Championships, has been affected first-hand by doping and could stand to win at least three medals as a result of other athletes being disqualified.
She believes US selectors should take a zero tolerance approach to athletes who have failed drugs tests in the past.
This would include Gatlin, banned for four years after testing positive for the second time in his career in 2006 following gold medals in the 100m at the 2004 Olympics in Athens and 2005 World Championships in Helsinki, and Gay, who served a reduced one-year ban and was stripped of a London 2012 silver medal after failing for anabolic steroids.
Both competed at last year's World Championships in Beijing, with Gatlin claiming two silver medals in the 100m and 200m behind Jamaica's Usain Bolt.
Gatlin and Gay are likely to be team-mates of Montaño at Rio 2016.
"As a US athlete I know, ‘Support your team-mates’ and that," she said here in response to a question about the pair during the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) Media Summit.
"But my team-mates are clean athletes.
“Excuses are like - well, you know what the saying is, 'everyone’s got one'.
“I think you are 100 per cent held accountable for what you put in your body.
"You can’t say, ‘Oh someone gave me a massage’ or ‘Oh I didn’t know’.
“They have a list of what you can and cannot take.
"These people just want to play the naive card and we’re too old for that, we’re not in pre-school.
"Sorry, I don’t care if that’s a bold statement, it’s true.”
Montaño crossed the line i fifth place in the Olympic 800m final at London 2012 but now stands to win a bronze medal after Russian first and third place finishes Mariya Savinova and Ekaterina Poistogova were each recommended for lifetime bans from athletics by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Independent Commission.
She also finished fourth in both the 2011 and 2013 World Championship finals in Daegu and Moscow, where Savinova finished first and second respectively.
“What I get emotional about is the fact that these people are stealing the idea from our children of what the idea of amazing is when they see incredible performances, and that [really annoys me],” Montaño added.
Her remarks are a reminder that the US has suffered its fair share of doping problems following lots of rhetoric here this week about how testing here is superior to most other countries.
It would be impossible for the USOC, however, not to select Gatlin or Gay for Rio 2016 providing they qualify through the American trials.
British sprinter Dwain Chambers and cyclist David Millar both competed at London 2012 after the Court of Arbitration for Sports overturned a lifetime ban from the Olympic Games previously introduced by the British Olympic Association.
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach also admitted last year that lifetime bans cannot be applied legally.