Suspended Lifters Respond on Social Media, While Others Claim a Win for Fair Competition

News of the IWF suspensions following 2012 London Olympic doping sample retests has rocked the weightlifting world. So far, 10 lifters — including 2-time Olympic Champion Ilya Ilyin — have received provisional suspensions for the use of anabolic compounds. Sometime in the next few weeks, the International Weightlifting Federation is expected to announce another round of positive results from Beijing retests, which could bring its own series of suspensions, some relating to active lifters.

So far, several of the implicated lifters — and many others in the weightlifting community — have taken to social media to offer takes ranging from explanations to criticism to unwavering support. Below, we’ve highlighted some of the reactions and open addresses issued on social media in the two days after the IWF’s announcement.

Ilya Ilyin

The Kazakh Olympic champion put out the following on social media (quoted in its entirety below the post). It’s worth noting that while Ilyin vows to fight the charges, he doesn’t flat-out deny using banned substances.

The information dopping test positive was like thunderstorm during sunny day to me.
According to regulations and norms of IWF all detailed information about myself specifying every single day and hour of my life including my physical presence independent if it is my day off or working in sporthall everything is available in the ADAMS international system.
Iam always available and open for Anti dopping controllers and meanwhilebhave passed twice this year dopping tests. Once in Poland during the trainings and in Almaty.

As you all know every single international competition starts with Dopping test, and it is must for all athletes and myself do pass this dopping tests since 2004.
Since 2004 all my dopping tests were negative.

Iam continuing my work for thevOlympic games in Rio and planning to fight till the end.
Our country and sport managment authorities indeed trying as possie in the proccess to clarify this akward situation.
I sincerely believe by the end of June this situation will be solved.

I have time till the mid of July to apply to participate in Rio Olympic games.

I truly believe that we can proove my eligibility in this absurdity and groundlessness of the accusation.

Apart from the desicion concerning my eligibility i want all of you to know that i spend 20 years of my short life in the sporthall, training 3 times a day till it bleeds ignoring the pain.

I always felt the responsibility on my shoulders for my country, my people and fight till the end to win.
All these years i felt the support of every and each of my people and fans when it was hard days and Red letter days.
I hope for your support.
Yours Ilya Ilyin

Apti Aukhadov

Russian Olympic silver medalist Apti Aukhadov — who was also suspended for a positive retest from London — had a simple message of solidarity with Ilyin, posting a picture of them together with the text “☝🏻️👍🏻”

Numerous other lifters from around the globe expressed their support of the suspended lifters, including many of their teammates.

Lydia Valentin

Spanish weightlifter Lydia Valentin was one of the first international athletes to praise the suspensions. Valentin — who, if the suspensions are upheld, could be awarded a retroactive bronze medal in her weight class from London — has been an outspoken critic of doping for much of her career.

The text under her Instagram post?

J U S T I C I A ☠💉💊

A photo posted by @lydiavalentin on

Jack Oliver

2012 London Olympian and British weightlifter Jack Oliver took to Instagram to offer up his take on the state of competition — and what he perceives to be the reasons for some big country discrepancies on the sport’s biggest stages.

A photo posted by Jack Oliver (@jackolivergb) on

That awkward moment when people still think that Olympic Champions are made in Weightlifting without drugs… Here is the reason why GB athletes lift in B groups and it’s nothing to do with talent or hard work. Although, no funding doesn’t help but that’s because you can’t get funding without results and you can’t get results without drugs.

Donny Shankle

Multi-time American World Team member and weightlifting coach Donny Shankle also expressed his disdain for those implicated in the doping scandal. Shankle has for years been an outspoken critic of doping and the use of banned substances within weightlifting competition.

A photo posted by Donny Shankle (@donny.shankle) on

It’s time we stop supporting the junkies and the cheats of our great sport. Sport belongs to the good man and good woman.

Criticism of IWF

And while the social reactions were generally divided into two camps — in support of or criticizing the suspended lifters — others were quick to call out the IWF directly for what many see as a senseless retesting process that can take place up to ten years after the samples are initially collected.