In July this year two freestyle swimming medallists at the World Aquatics Championships refused to stand on the podium alongside the multiple champion Sun Yang, of China, because they regard him as a cheat.
The 400 metres Olympic gold medallist Mack Horton, from Australia, stood to the side and ignored China’s national anthem as it played for Sun in Gwangju in South Korea.
Horton was later given a standing ovation by fellow swimmers when he entered the dining hall at the Athletes' Village.
Two days later the Olympic relay silver medallist Duncan Scott, from Britain, was called "a loser" by Sun after he refused to share the podium for the 200m medal ceremony.
Horton and Scott were unhappy that Sun, who was loudly booed by the crowd, was swimming at all.
Sun had been suspended for a doping violation in 2014, and his fellow competitors were angry that he was allowed to compete after a second alleged violation.
Sun questioned testers’ credentials when they visited his home last year and members of his entourage smashed a vial containing a blood sample.
After the International Swimming Federation (FINA) issued Sun with a warning and allowed him to continue his career, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) appealed and took the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which will announce its decision early next year.
While Horton and Scott were subjected to abuse on Chinese social media, swimmers and swimming fans worldwide were happy to post comments such as, "The athletes have had enough. Bravo."
If only the same were true in weightlifting, says the American Olympic medallist Cheryl Haworth.
"There’s no doubt that my life would have been different if everybody had competed fairly," said Haworth, winner of a super-heavyweight bronze at Sydney 2000 and is now a coach and commentator.
"I get outraged by the amount of respect that cheaters get in the sport.
"We’re living in the Instagram world where we’re always seeing all these incredible athletes lift incredible weights and as soon as somebody goes, 'Wow! Did you see what Ilya Ilyin did?' I just stop them.
"I won’t say don’t look at these videos, they’re grown people, but I do say, 'Let me explain to you that so-and-so is a cheater, be careful who you respect.'
"It’s an aspect of weightlifting that drives me mad and I think people have grown so used to it [doping] I feel like it’s my job to inform them that there are good clean lifters who deserve more respect.
"Weightlifting is so much easier if you’re doping…it’s less challenging for them [dopers] so I always let my athletes know who’s cheating and who’s not.
"I’m disgusted by some of the attention and praise these athletes get even after being proven dopers.
"Nobody’s been ostracised.
"Ilya Ilyin can probably set up weightlifting clinics for the rest of his life and make a shitload of money and that drives me mad."
Ilyin, from Kazakhstan, is the most high-profile cheat in the sport, having been twice disqualified from first place at the Olympic Games for doping – but like many other dopers he remains popular around the world, especially on social media.
He has 422,000 followers on Instagram, and his YouTube videos can attract audiences close to or even above a million.
Gareth Evans, a Welshman who lifted for Britain at London 2012, says it is "massively frustrating" that Ilyin and others are so popular.
A few weeks before Horton and Scott staged their medal protests against Sun, Ilyin competed in the British International Open in Coventry, where he was cheered by the crowd and sought out for autographs.
"He is the most prominent person that’s been done for doping and people still love him," said Evans.
"Millions and millions of people around the world lift weights recreationally or competitively, and everyone wants to see that big lift on Instagram even if it’s not in a competition.
"If he posts a big lift in the gym everyone goes nuts about it, and it’s massively frustrating."
Tom Goegebuer, the athletes’ representative on International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) Commissions and a three-time Olympian, helps the Belgian swimming team with their strength and conditioning work.
"It’s amazing at a swimming competition when someone has a suspicion of doping or has tested positive before - the crowd makes a lot of noise against them," said Goegebuer.
"In weightlifting our culture has been influenced by so many positive cases we start to think it’s normal."
Goegebuer, Haworth and Evans, along with Olympic champions who have felt the personal and collective cost of competing against dopers, are speaking out as the IWF Executive Board prepares to make a decision that could have a significant bearing on the sport’s future.
On December 5 an extraordinary meeting in Lausanne will discuss a proposal that would sideline a body set up by the IWF last year, the Independent Member Federations Sanctions Panel, and leave any disciplinary decisions for multiple doping offenders with the Executive Board.
The establishment of the sanctions panel in was one of the IWF’s many changes that persuaded the International Olympic Committee to drop its threat to exclude weightlifting from the Olympic Games schedule because of its doping record.
Other changes include rewarding clean nations with the best doping record since 2008 by adding to their quota of places at Tokyo 2020; establishing a new Olympic qualifying system that compels athletes to undergo relentless testing; and an overhaul of the anti-doping policy that has left procedures in the hands of the Independent Testing Agency (ITA).
There have been 57 doping positives by weightlifters at Beijing 2008 and London 2012, all of which were revealed when stored samples from those Games were retested by the IOC after improvements in the science of detection.
Samples from Rio 2016 have yet to be retested and, despite the IOC lifting the threat of expulsion, it has made it clear that it is keeping a watchful eye.
Goegebuer, Haworth and Evans are not alone in thinking that weightlifting remains on thin ice, and that any sign of a backward step could prove costly.
The proposal to scrap the sanctions panel – whose members are a highly respected American lawyer and anti-doping experts from Canada, Germany and New Zealand - is made by Mohamed Jaloud, general secretary of the IWF, and is supported by, among others, Executive Board members from seven nations that have lost quota places at Tokyo 2020 because of doping.
According to the official IWF record of the relevant 2018 meeting the entire Executive Board voted the panel into existence, but now several members question the legality of the panel, claiming that an independent body cannot supersede the IWF’s own highest decision-making body.
Lawyers will advise the meeting in Lausanne on the legality issue.
The group who want rid of the panel say the ITA should give advice on sanctions, and the Executive Board should decide.
Two of them are from nations, Thailand and Egypt, that are banned outright from Tokyo 2020 and others may fear the same fate if doping violations from Rio 2016 are announced in the next few months.
It is widely believed within the sport that any such nations would see it as an advantage to have disciplinary decisions made by the Executive Board, rather than a panel whose members are not only independent but are all from “clean” countries in weightlifting terms.
"We cannot afford to lose attention or to take a step back," said Goegebuer.
"Our place on the Olympic programme is only safe when we can ensure a fair competition.
"Systematic doping should be detected and sanctioned.
"The credibility in this matter strongly depends on the extent to which these processes take place in an independent manner, without interference from any parties involved.
"However, statistics show that banning only the individual athletes is not stopping cultural or organised doping.
"At least 15 countries have had more than 10 positive cases since Beijing 2008 and a lot of athletes have been sanctioned more than once.
"Clean lifting must be the number one priority.
"To make clean lifting the smartest choice the IWF must develop a system in which clean lifters and federations will be more successful in terms of participation and medals."
Goegebuer identified effective steps that had already been taken - rewarding clean countries with extra Olympic quota places, independent testing and sanctioning, individual Olympic qualifying with regular and targeted testing - but said, "Until a new, doping-free culture is created we cannot afford to lose attention or to take a step back."
The most prominent names among the Olympians who won medals because of doping disqualifications are Lidia Valentín, the double IWF World Weightlifter of the Year from Spain, Canada’s Christine Girard, and Ele Opeloge from Samoa, all of whom were upgraded to gold and silver years after they competed.
The IOC is keen to highlight the plight of the medal-winners who had to wait years, and has produced a series of videos on the Olympic Channel, labelling every one "a win for clean sport".
The same could not be said for the names on the exalted list of Weightlifter of the Year winners, where Valentin and a few others are surrounded by cheats.
Of the 10 female winners since 2009 only three have an unblemished doping record while the others, including one who won twice, have collectively served six suspensions with two violations still unresolved.
It is a similar story on the men’s Weightlifter of the Year list: three "clean" winners, one of whom won twice, alongside others who have collectively been suspended for 20 years, with one violation outstanding.
Not all of those doping violations were known at the time of the public vote, but plenty were - yet another example of the willingness of those within weightlifting, and its fans, to give their support to dopers.
Valentin won silver at Beijing 2008 and gold at London 2012 after disqualifications, and did not receive her gold medal until February this year.
"I wasn’t able to enjoy the podium at the time but the important thing is that the cheaters have been caught," she said.
Both Valentín and Girard were the first female Olympic weightlifting champions from their countries.
"They can tell of how they they missed their moment of glory, the media attention and the sponsorships," said Goegebuer.
"But the group of victims of unfair competition is much, much bigger.
"Nobody knows exactly who these athletes are and this makes it difficult to give them a voice.
"And how many clean athletes never received the funding and selections they really deserve?
"How many athletes have been indirectly ‘forced’ into doping because their colleagues were doing it?
"The doping problem is not only a loss for the clean athletes.
"We all know great athletes, rivals with a great personality, who cannot practise their sport, cannot live their passion any longer, because of a disqualification.
"Sometimes they made a mistake, but often they were just immersed in a system that put them on this path."
Girard - who was inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame on Thursday (November 21) - was presented with her 2012 Olympic gold medal a year ago, six years after she had finished third behind two dopers in London in the 63 kilograms.
"I lost a lot by not having my medals on time - lots of money, lots of support, lots of opportunities," Girard said from her home in Quebec.
"But my whole country lost a lot too.
"Think about how many young girls would have been empowered to do the sport, even if it is not common for girls.
"Nothing will give us back what we all lost…but my medals have a bigger meaning.
"Now there are other countries that believe there’s a better way to do this sport."
Sport Canada would likely have increased weightlifting’s core funding, over a four-year cycle, had Girard won her medals "live".
"When you consider that our annual budget is typically CAD$85,000, even a low five-figure impact would be significant," said the Canadian Weightlifting Federation (CWF) President Craig Walker.
"We would have been in a much stronger position for development and raising our profile had we been awarded the medals at the Games, without question."
Canada has two athletes very well placed to qualify for Tokyo 2020 but such is weightlifting’s reputation that even now, Walker is having to persuade his National Olympic Committee that there has been a clean-up of the sport.
"We are still the object of suspicion here despite our efforts, and those of the IWF," he said - another example of the damage done by dopers.
Walker also issued an official CWF statement to reiterate the Canadians’ strong opposition to the scrapping of the sanctions panel.
"The Canadian Weightlifting Federation has been and remains closely aligned with the IWF and its efforts to build a cleaner sport over the past two years or so," it said.
"As a National Federation with a strong record in anti-doping, we have serious reservations about any effort to disband the sanctions panel.
"Disbanding the panel would send a message to the sport community that weightlifting seeks a return to more 'flexible approaches' to anti-doping.
"That's the wrong message, an invitation to the kind of abuses that almost pushed weightlifting out of the Olympics.
"We will not support any measure that moves our sport in that direction again."
Walker praised Girard’s medal-winning performances as an example of what can be achieved clean, but added, "Let's not turn a blind eye to the damage that occurs when we allow cheating to flourish.
"The public at large tars the sport as a whole because it sees the rules broken on a regular basis and assumes no one is clean.
"This has been our reality for several years.
"This issue really isn't about pitting one country against another, it is about finding ways to foster a culture of clean sport, allowing a cleaner sport to emerge from an unclean past.
"Weightlifting needs continued resolve against doping, not more uncertainty.
"Keeping the sanctions panel and supporting the work it has done is part of that resolve."
Opeloge became Samoa’s first Olympic medallist in any sport when disqualifications moved her up to second place in the women’s super-heavyweights at Beijing 2008, but did not receive her medal until March 2017.
When the amended result was announced in 2016 Jerry Wallwork, national coach and President of the Samoa Weightlifting Federation, said, "We have lost the glory of winning the medal at the time, all the hype is gone.
"But most importantly Ele's future could have been shaped differently.
"Many doors and options could have opened up for her, especially the reward that was offered by our Government for $100,000.
"Ele comes from a poor background and these funds could have really made a difference for her family eight years ago. It’s very unfair.
"The small islands work so hard to be competing against big-time cheaters who pump in millions just to cover their tracks."
Evans, the athletes’ representative in Welsh weightlifting who was 16th in the men’s 69kg at London 2012, believes Britain has also been a victim of the cheats.
British lifters were set targets by UK Sport at London 2012.
They met them only retrospectively, after seven disqualifications in the infamous men’s 94kg left Peter Kirkbride in ninth place, and further doping cases led to Zoe Smith and Natasha Perdue finishing in the top 10 of their events.
"We lost funding because we didn’t hit all our targets," said Evans, the Commonwealth Games champion.
"Retrospectively we should have had it, but British weightlifting was only able to get funding for the women.
"The men lost everything.
"Since 2013 men’s weightlifting in the UK has been pretty much dead and the main reason is all those dopers at London 2012.
"Individuals lost medals but it had a very direct effect on a whole nation’s weightlifting programme."
Evans was also furious about India being allowed to compete at the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games when they escaped with a $500,000 fine for multiple doping offences instead of a suspension – which would have been their third in seven years.
"It’s mad - they should have had a full-nation ban," he said.
"There’s only a handful of countries that have respect for anti-doping, the others just see it as a hurdle.
"I can see that some measures have been put in place to try to make it better but I can’t see it ever not being a problem in weightlifting - that’s the scary thing.
"The big thing is to take countries out of Olympic contention.
"Suppose a team gets a two-year ban in 2021, they’re back in time for the Olympics.
"Nations who have systematic doping programmes or who are caught regularly doping have to be out for the whole Olympic cycle, because ultimately what they strive for is Olympic success."
If Evans sounds pessimistic about the future, Karoliina Lundahl, the IWF Executive Board member from Finland, is more optimistic.
She says the meeting in Lausanne is more of a legal issue than a dispute between clean sport and doping, and that the Executive Board is united in its intent to remain an Olympic sport.
"If this is a legal issue that we cannot give this ruling power [on sanctions] away from the Executive Board then we must address it," Lundahl said.
"But who are the people to address it? The lawyers. We could not talk about it in Pattaya [at the last Executive Board meeting] because we didn’t have a ruling from the lawyers.
"It’s a legal issue rather than a matter of what we want to do.
"There is not a rift in the Executive Board - we voted unanimously that we want to be an Olympic sport.
"We are working together and different people have different solutions of how they want to get there."
In an extensive interview in Russia earlier this year Ilyin spoke as if he came from another world to Christine Girard, Gareth Evans and Cheryl Haworth.
He said he had suffered post-traumatic stress disorder because "your medals have been taken away from you".
He said a world-class weightlifter needed to be naturally gifted, have a genius coach, and highlighted "consultation with medical professionals" as another must.
"I grew up on the Kazakh system," Ilyin said. "I worked from 2011 in this way."
In the five years from the 2011 IWF World Championships to June 2016 when his retrospective positives were announced, Ilyin competed a total of four times, finishing first every time and posting career-high totals of way above 400kg.
Now, lifting clean in Olympic qualifying - which he could enter only because of an administrative oversight regarding his two violations - he has competed as many times in five months as he did in five years.
He is down by more than 40kg and stands 36th in the 96kg rankings, from which only 14 will make it to Tokyo 2020.
In future, he said he will "maybe work with the weightlifting federation, or maybe travel and do seminars to teach kids".
Phil Andrews, chief executive of USA Weightlifting, said, "I’m happy to work with Federations and individuals who want to change, who want to compete clean.
"Let’s all get better together.
"But I’m not an Ilya lyin fan.
"If you are a fan of this sport you should not be a fan of Ilya Ilyin, full stop.
"Why? Because he and others who doped at Beijing and London came very, very close to getting our sport eliminated from the Olympic Games."