The 800-meter star was awarded her bronze medals after being cheated out of them during the 2011 and 2013 world championships.
- Alysia Montaño received world outdoor track and field championship medals on Monday, six and eight years after being cheated out of them.
- She placed fourth in the 800-meter run in 2011 and 2013, but Russian Mariya Savinova, the gold and silver medalist in those respective races, was stripped of her medals because of doping.
After being cheated out of two world championship medals in 2011 and 2013, Alysia Montaño was finally awarded for her efforts on the track today in Doha.
On Monday, the 800-meter Olympic finalist received her first IAAF World Championship medals six and eight years after finishing behind a runner who was later disqualified for doping. On the fourth day of competition at the world championships, Montaño was given two bronze medals at an award ceremony inside Khalifa Stadium.
Flower in her hair, medals around her neck – @AlysiaMontano had plenty to say after getting her two world 800m medals, 6 and 8 years after she should have, due to disqualified dopers. pic.twitter.com/pFN5IW5nwA
— Cathal Dennehy (@Cathal_Dennehy) September 30, 2019
Montaño finished fourth at the 2011 championships in Daegu, South Korea, and fourth at the 2013 championships in Moscow to Russian Mariya Savinova, who was an original gold and silver medalist in those respective races. Savinova, who was also stripped of her 2012 Olympic gold medal, was officially disqualified for doping in 2017.
“I hope they [people who dope] can see the repercussions of their faults,” Montaño told Runner’s World in the mixed zone in Doha. “We can still have a very beautiful and true and clean sport if they just give it their all and drop the dope. It’s a joke, to be completely honest. To the clean athletes: keep going, your reward is within you.”
Throughout her career, Montaño, 33, has been outspoken against doping, and in recent years she has fought for maternity rights for female athletes. While her moment on the podium in Doha was bittersweet, the six-time U.S. 800-meter champion is choosing to focus on her role in the sport, which goes beyond medals.
“I’m in this space of fighting, being positive, sharing the silver lining, and being human and real about the repercussions of doping,” she said. “I might be one of the most decorated 800 meter runners now, never having had an opportunity to reap the benefits during the high moments of my career.
“It’s not about the glitz or glamour or the gold. It’s about what I deserved. It’s hard to walk away and not think about that. I was very overwhelmed having two medals around my neck, and that was a very special moment.”
In the prime of her running career, Montaño won 800-meter U.S. outdoor titles in 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2015 and earned top four finishes in three global championships, including a fourth-place finish at the 2012 Olympic Games. Her 800-meter personal best of 1:57.34 makes her the sixth-fastest American woman in history to run the event.
In June 2014, Montaño made headlines when she competed at the USATF Outdoor Championships while 34 weeks pregnant with her first child, daughter Linnea, who was born in August 2014. Her 2015 national title was earned just six months later.
In June 2017, she competed again while five months pregnant with her son at the national outdoor championships. In the first round of the 800 meters, she finished her heat in 2:21, 11 seconds faster than her time in 2014. She is currently pregnant with her third child.
“Coming to this I am very happy, I have an amazing life, and going through this rollercoaster ride with the doping and the barriers that women are facing with motherhood, I’m not going to let it take away my joy,” she said. “I want to focus on the good things in my life and my family is the greatest thing in my life.”
Earlier this year, Montaño spoke out against Nike, her former professional sponsor, alleging that the company did not provide enough maternal protections for pregnant athletes. In May, she spoke about her experience in an op-ed with The New York Times in which Montaño shared that she and fellow Nike athletes who became pregnant suffered from a loss in paychecks and health insurance during that time. In response to the backlash Nike received from former athletes like Montaño, Kara Goucher, and Allyson Felix, the sportswear giant added more protection for pregnant athletes and new moms in August.
While she couldn’t experience the joy of receiving medals on the podium in Daegu and Moscow, Montaño was able to share the upgrade with her two children and husband, Louis, who travelled to Doha to support her.