Is Russian Doping What It Appears To Be?

Posted on 30 March, 2020 by Jovana Subić

This analysis covers 29,544 results achieved by 354 Russian athletes, dispersed over 4,691 events, during the 1993-2019 period. 



Given the current controversy regarding doping at the Olympic Games, with a specific focus on Russian athletes, we decided to see what the actual numbers have to say. For this purpose, we focused only on athletics (track and field) and analyzed the results of Russian athletes who competed at the Summer Olympic Games during the 1993-2019 period.


Key takeaways

  • Disqualified results of banned athletes are 3.1% better than their regular results in all 12 analyzed disciplines,
  • Results of banned athletes are better than clean athletes’ results in 18 out of 24 analyzed disciplines, 
  • 800 Metres is the only discipline where both clean women and clean men average better results than banned women and men (by 0.6% and 12.4% respectively)
  • The largest differences between banned and clean athletes, in favor of banned, we see in Hammer Throw Women (7.0%), Heptathlon Women (6.7%) and Discus Throw Men (6.3%),
  • When it comes to Javelin Throw Women, clean athletes have better results (1.5m) than banned athletes. At the same time, the disqualified results of banned athletes are 5.7m better than their regular results.

All the showcased results are statistically significant. Calculations were done by Vania Nikolova, PhD, RunRepeat's Head of Data Analysis.    



The main research points:

  1. How the results of athletes that never tested positive on doping tests (clean athletes) compare to the results of athletes who tested positive at some point in their career (banned athletes)
  2. How the results of banned athletes during their disqualification period (disqualified results) compare to the ones when they tested negative (regular results) on doping tests

For the first research point, results achieved at events of all 10 categories (OW, DF, GW, GL, A, B, C, D, E, F) were taken into account. For the third research point, results achieved at the events of the first 7 categories were taken into account.


Clean vs. banned athletes

The average results of banned and clean athletes are compared here, with the difference shown in percentages.



Click the accordions bellow to look at comparison graphs for all disciplines.

200 Metres Women


400 Metres Women


800 Metres Women


1500 Metres Women


5000 Metres Women


20 Kilometres Race Walk Women


400 Metres Men


800 Metres Men


1500 Metres Men


5000 Metres Men


Discus Throw Women


Hammer Throw Women


Heptathlon Women


High Jump Women


Javelin Throw Women


Long Jump Women


Shot Put Women


Triple Jump Women


Decathlon Men


Discus Throw Men


Hammer Throw Men


High Jump Men


Pole Vault Men


Shot Put Men




New women vs men


Out of 198 women, 66.7% were clean and 33.3% were banned. When it comes to men, out of 156 of them, 83.3% were clean and 16.7% were banned. 


Share of dq results


During the London and Rio Olympic cycles, the biggest share of disqualified results was recorded, peaking in 2013 at 15%. No other Olympic cycle had the share of disqualified results above 10%.


Banned athletes: Disqualified vs. regular results



Click the accordions bellow to look at comparison graphs for all disciplines.

200 Metres Women - dq. vs regular


400m Women


800 Metres Women - dq vs regular

3000 Metres Steeplechase Women


Women Marathon disqualified vs regular










The results (achieved by Yuliya Kondakova, Ekaterina Galitskaia, Svetlana Shkolina, Ivan Ukhov, and Lyukman Adams) for which appeals were pending before the CAS at the moment of publishing this piece were considered as disqualified. 


Let the shoes (not doping) make the difference

Whether you’re jumping, throwing or running, your shoes matter and might up the game. Mind the surface, spike size and type, stay clean and choose the right track and field shoes. As expected, Nike track & field shoes are the most popular. But make sure you also check out Adidas, Asics and Saucony

For all those additional workouts outside track, we ranked the best road running shoes and training footwear

Having strong feelings about a certain pair of shoes? Leave a review and help other athletes pick the right shoes. 


Use of Content 

  • Feel free to use any text sections, the data, and the graphics for web usage. We just ask that you refer and link back to this original piece. 
  • For print usage, questions or interviews on the topic, reach out to


Jovana Subić

Jovana is into all things outdoor - skyrunning, trail running, rock climbing, hiking, mountain biking, kayaking. She uses every opportunity to trade walls and concrete for forests and trails, which made her a hard-core remote work devotee. Whether it's a vertical kilometer or an ultra, she enjoys the surroundings and fantasizes about donuts. With a background in physics and engineering management, as well as photography and creative writing, she combines both technical and creative aspects to do her best.