The retrospective pursuit of doping athletes is welcome, but what happens to their fraudulent earnings?

They might be discredited as cheats, but if they wield a dysfunctional moral compass there will be few sleepless nights, at least in the Russians' case, at their decadent dachas on the Black Sea.

The fact 98 athletes have failed doping tests in the reanalysis of stored samples from the Beijing and London Olympics is uplifting in the sense the reprobates have been discovered but, infamy aside, what about the wealth they amassed in the interim?

Cynics would suggest they gamble on making the most of the glory before the 'good' chemists catch up with them four or eight years later.


Let's call it a problem of principle and interest. It creates a Pandora's Box. How does the clean athlete, whose place is unfairly distorted in the rankings, ever get fairly compensated with cash?

The situation seems unsolvable.

There must be hundreds, if not thousands, of athletes affected by this cycle of deceit post World War II. New Zealand shot putter Valerie Adams is one example.

Look at her maiden Olympics in 2004. She missed the top eight and the opportunity for three more throws. Four of those ahead of her have since received doping bans.

Who's to say the Adams' marketing juggernaut would not have launched as a 19-year-old, rather than having to wait for her first world championship win in 2007? How much income did she lose in that period?

Likewise, it's all very well that she received her second gold medal at home after Belarusian Nadzheya Ostapchuk was outed as a fraud.

How much could her brand have been enhanced via jubilant imagery from the London stadium podium to live in the annals of New Zealand Olympic history?

Conversely, an audit would be welcome to analyse the financial impact on seven-time Tour de France 'winning' cheat Lance Armstrong, and the cancer charity Livestrong which he used as a moral sanctuary to mitigate his misdeeds.

After the United States Anti-Doping Agency's report and Armstrong's 'confession' to Oprah Winfrey in January 2013, all his sponsors dropped him. He estimated it was a "US$75 million day" of losses.

However, that was not retrospective and doesn't account for his investments in assets and trusts as well as businesses like his Mellow Johnny's cycle shop and the Juan Pelota caf in Austin, Texas.

He may still receive his comeuppance when the US Government, on behalf of Armstrong's former sponsor the US Postal Service, launches a multi-million-dollar civil fraud case which could go to trial this year.

An equitable outcome for clean athletes still seems unrealistic. The prospect of prison sentences would likely be met by resistance in the form of human rights defences.

The Russian doping fiasco and its financial implications serves as a worthy warning as to why the pursuit of medals sometimes forces officials, coaches and athletes to succumb to temptation.

But who would be prepared to pay for a medal with their soul?