LONDON (AP) — Paula Radcliffe, a three-time London Marathon winner who holds the world record for the distance, denied Tuesday that she ever used performance-enhancing drugs and said she was “devastated” that her name had been linked to allegations of wide-spread blood doping in track and field.
“I categorically deny that I ever resorted to cheating in any form whatsoever at any time in my career,” the British runner said in a strongly-worded four-page statement issued through her management company.
The 41-year-old Radcliffe, who has retired from international competition, said she was “effectively” implicated during a Parliamentary hearing Tuesday into allegations of doping leveled last month by The Sunday Times newspaper and German broadcaster ARD.
Jesse Norman, chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, said during the hearing that “potentially the winners or medalists at the London Marathon, potentially British athletes are under suspicion for very high levels of blood doping.”
Radcliffe, who won the London Marathon in 2002, 2003 and 2005, said she was “devastated that my name has even been linked to these wide-ranging accusations.”
“These accusations threaten to undermine all I have stood and competed for, as well as my hard earned reputation,” she said. “By linking me to allegations of cheating, damage done to my name and reputation can never be fully repaired, no matter how untrue I know them to be.”
The Sunday Times and ARD reported that blood doping was rampant in the sport, citing leaked results from an IAAF database. The IAAF has strongly rejected suggestions that it had failed to follow up on the suspicious tests and that it wasn’t doing enough to uncover doping.
The media reports examined the results of 12,000 blood tests involving 5,000 athletes from 2001 to 2012, and concluded that 800 were suspicious. The reports said that 146 medals — including 55 golds — in disciplines ranging from the 800 meters to the marathon at the Olympics and world championships were won by athletes who have recorded suspicious tests.
The Sunday Times also claimed the London Marathon was won seven times over a 12-year period by athletes who recorded suspicious blood tests.
“It is profoundly disappointing that the cloak of Parliamentary privilege has been used to effectively implicate me, tarnishing my reputation, with full knowledge that I have no recourse against anyone for repeating what has been said at the committee hearing,” Radcliffe said.
MORE TRACK AND FIELD: Radcliffe says farewell at London Marathon