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Athletics at the 2012 Summer Olympics – Women's 1500 metres

The women's 1500 metres competition was an event at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, United Kingdom. The competition was held at the Olympic Stadium from 6–10 August.[2] The top two finishers were later found to have used prohibited drugs during this period, and subsequently disqualified.

Women's 1500 metres
at the Games of the XXX Olympiad
2012 Summer Olympics events, Athletics.jpg
VenueOlympic Stadium
Date6–10 August
Competitors46 from 26 nations
Winning time4:10.23
1st, gold medalist(s) Maryam Yusuf Jamal[1]  Bahrain
2nd, silver medalist(s) Tatyana Tomashova  Russia
3rd, bronze medalist(s) Abeba Aregawi  Ethiopia
← 2008
2016 →


The qualifying rounds were typically strategic, with the second heat notably slower than the first and third. Notable for not qualifying was world championship bronze medalist (and 2009 first finisher) Natalia Rodríguez and Genzebe Dibaba, younger sister of 10000 metres gold medalist Tirunesh Dibaba.

The semifinals were similarly inconsistent. In the first semi, the race was stringing out behind a last lap charge by Ethiopian born Bahraini Mimi Belete chased by Aslı Çakır Alptekin, the two leaders looking to be sure qualifiers. At the head of the final straight Alptekin passed Belete for the lead and Belete wilted, falling back through the field and changing the dynamic of the rush for qualifying positions, giving Shannon Rowbury a qualifying spot, while Hilary Stellingwerff and Corinna Harrer had to hope the second semi would go slowly. It didn't. Instead the second semi final went out significantly faster with Tatyana Tomashova pushing the pace after the first 200 metres. With 600 to go, Gamze Bulut passed Tomashova to accelerate the pace further. Abeba Aregawi stayed on Bulut's shoulder and sprinted past with 200 to go, stringing out the field, leaving reigning world champion Jennifer Simpson behind.

The final started out slowly, none of the entrants wanting to take the lead. By default Bulut and Maryam Yusuf Jamal found themselves in the lead, Jamal noticeably looking around for someone else to take the pace. The first lap was 1:15.12, literally a jog for athletes of this caliber. The second lap slightly faster, reached in 2:23.97. The two shared the leading duties until the bell, then both accelerated, with the field swarming to join them. Moments after the bell, Aregawi passed behind Morgan Uceny, who stumbled, her knee meeting the back-kick of Yekaterina Kostetskaya. Just like her experience in the 2011 World Championships, Uceny found herself on the ground as the field was sprinting away from her, leaving her in tears. Alptekin passed Bulut with 300 to go. Aregawi joined the lead group on the back stretch with Jamal and Bulut all jockeying for position behind Alptekin. Coming onto the home stretch Jamal looked like she was in position to move past Alptekin, but she never gained enough. Aregawi edged past Jamal with Bulut trying to close the gap. 20 metres before the finish Aregawi suddenly slowed as she was passed by Jamal at the same time as Bulut passed them both.[3]

Doping and aftermathEdit

Suspicions about the race's legitimacy with regard to doping emerged almost immediately. Great Britain's Lisa Dobriskey, who finished 10th, felt fewer qualms about voicing her suspicions, telling reporters immediately after the race, "I don't believe I'm competing on a level playing field." While refusing to accuse any specific athlete of PED use, Dobriskey added that "People will be caught eventually, I think. Fingers crossed, anyway."

In May 2013, several news organizations reported that winner Aslı Çakır Alptekin had tested positive for a banned substance.[4][5] As her second doping offense, she would face a lifetime ban if found guilty and be stripped of her gold medal. Neither the IAAF nor WADA made an official confirmation of the positive drug test.[6] On 28 July 2014, IAAF announced that 9th-place finisher Yekaterina Kostetskaya was sanctioned for doping after her biological passport had showed abnormalities. Her result was disqualified.[7]

On 17 August 2015, the Court of Arbitration for Sport approved a settlement agreed to by Alptekin and the IAAF. Alptekin agreed to give up her 1500 m Olympic title and serve an eight-year ban for blood doping.[8] There was no confirmation from the IOC whether the medals would be redistributed.[9]

On 1 June 2016, Turkish media reported that Gamze Bulut had also been found to have employed illegal performance enhancing methods by dint of observations of her athlete 'passport'. It was reported that, if confirmed, Bulut would lose her Olympic and European medals, and all medals and records from 2012 to 2016.[10] IAAF sanctioned her on March 2017 by four year inegibility and a disqualification since July 2011[11]

In a 2017 story for U.S. sports media giant ESPN, American competitor Shannon Rowbury, who finished sixth, indicated she suspected that several of her opponents were using performance-enhancing drugs, but according to the story's writer Doug Williams "felt powerless to challenge other runners, even after the race." and "It's a bit mind-blowing to think that half of the field shouldn't have been there to begin with."[12]

Fourth-place runner Tatyana Tomashova received a two-year ban from 2008–2010 for manipulating doping samples.[13] In 2016, the IAAF reported that Ethiopian runner Abeba Aregawi, who initially finished the final in fifth place, had also failed a drug test,[14] though she was reinstated in July.

Belarusian runner Natallia Kareiva, who finished seventh in the final, received a two-year ban in 2014 for doping after her biological passport showed abnormalities. This voided her result from the 2012 Olympics.[15]

Russian runner Yekaterina Kostetskaya was also sanctioned for doping in 2014, disqualifying her initial ninth-place finish.[7]

These developments meant that six of the race's top nine finishers were linked to PED usage. The aforementioned ESPN story called the race "one of the dirtiest in Olympic history."[12]

In 2017, the IOC officially reassigned the gold medal to Maryam Yusuf Jamal, but pending the outcome of anti-doping proceedings against several lower-placed finishers the silver and bronze remain vacant.

In 2018, the IOC reallocated silver and bronze medals, upgrading Tomashova despite her doping suspension.[16]

Competition formatEdit

The women's 1500 m competition consisted of heats (round 1), semifinals and a final. The first 6 competitors in each heat of round 1 along with the next six fastest overall qualified for the semifinals.[17] In the semifinals the first five in each heat along with the next two fastest overall qualified for the final. There was a tie for the 12th fastest overall time and both athletes qualified for the final, making a total of 13 athletes.[18]


Prior to the competition, the existing World and Olympic records were as follows.

World record   Qu Yunxia (CHN) 3:50.46 Beijing, China 11 September 1993
Olympic record   Paula Ivan (ROU) 3:53.96 Seoul, South Korea 26 September 1988
2012 World leading   Mariem Alaoui Selsouli (MAR) 3:56.15 Paris, France 6 July 2012


All times are British Summer Time (UTC+1)

Date Time Round
Monday, 6 August 2012 11:45 Round 1
Wednesday, 8 August 2012 19:45 Semifinals
Friday, 10 August 2012 20:55 Finals


Round 1Edit

Qual. rule: first 6 of each heat (Q) plus the 6 fastest times (q) qualified.

Heat 1Edit

Rank Athlete Nationality Time Notes
1 Abeba Aregawi   Ethiopia 4:04.55 Q
2 Tatyana Tomashova   Russia 4:05.10 Q
3 Maryam Yusuf Jamal   Bahrain 4:05.39 Q
4 Hellen Onsando Obiri   Kenya 4:05.40 Q
5 Hannah England   Great Britain 4:05.73 Q
6 Hilary Stellingwerff   Canada 4:05.79 Q
7 Shannon Rowbury   United States 4:06.03 q
8 Lucy van Dalen   New Zealand 4:07.04 q
9 Lucia Klocova   Slovakia 4:07.79 q, NR
10 Corinna Harrer   Germany 4:07.83 q
11 Marina Munćan   Serbia 4:11.25
12 Tereza Capkova   Czech Republic 4:12.15
13 Anzhelika Shevchenko   Ukraine 4:12.97
14 Natalia Rodríguez   Spain 4:16.18
15 Tuğba Karakaya   Turkey 4:29.21
N/A Btissam Lakhouad   Morocco N/A DNF

Heat 2Edit

Rank Athlete Nationality Time Notes
1 Lisa Dobriskey   Great Britain 4:13.32 Q
2 Siham Hilali   Morocco 4:13.34 Q
N/A Aslı Çakır Alptekin   Turkey 4:13.64 Q
3 Nuria Fernández   Spain 4:13.72 Q
4 Kaila McKnight   Australia 4:13.80 Q
5 Jennifer Simpson   United States 4:13.81 Q
N/A Ekaterina Martynova[19]   Russia 4:13.86
6 Genzeb Shumi   Bahrain 4:14.02
7 Meskerem Assefa   Ethiopia 4:15.52
8 Eunice Jepkoech Sum   Kenya 4:16.95
9 Sonja Roman   Slovenia 4:19.17
10 Eliane Saholinirina   Madagascar 4:19.46
11 Renata Pliś   Poland 4:19.62
12 Chancel Ilunga Sankuru   Democratic Republic of the Congo 5:05.25
N/A Ingvill Makestad Bovim   Norway N/A DNS

Heat 3Edit

Rank Athlete Nationality Time Notes
N/A Gamze Bulut   Turkey 4:06.69 Q
1 Morgan Uceny   United States 4:06.87 Q
N/A Natallia Kareiva   Belarus 4:06.87 Q, SB
N/A Yekaterina Kostetskaya   Russia 4:06.94 Q
2 Mimi Belete   Bahrain 4:07.01 Q, SB
3 Laura Weightman   Great Britain 4:07.29 Q
4 Nicole Sifuentes   Canada 4:07.65 q
5 Zoe Buckman   Australia 4:07.83 q
6 Faith Kipyegon   Kenya 4:08.78
7 Genzebe Dibaba   Ethiopia 4:11.15
8 Janet Achola   Uganda 4:11.64
9 Isabel Macías   Spain 4:13.07
10 Anna Mishchenko   Ukraine 4:13.63
11 Betlhem Desalegn   United Arab Emirates 4:14.07
12 Gladys Landaverde   El Salvador 4:18.26 NR


Qual. rule: first 5 of each semifinal (Q) plus the 2 fastest times (q) qualified.

Heat 1Edit

Rank Athlete Nationality Time Notes
N/A Aslı Çakır Alptekin   Turkey 4:05.11 Q
N/A Yekaterina Kostetskaya   Russia 4:05.32 Q
1 Morgan Uceny   United States 4:05.34 Q
2 Lisa Dobriskey   Great Britain 4:05.35 Q
3 Shannon Rowbury   United States 4:05.47 Q
4 Hilary Stellingwerff   Canada 4:05.57
5 Corinna Harrer   Germany 4:05.70
6 Mimi Belete   Bahrain 4:05.91 SB
7 Hannah England   Great Britain 4:06.35
8 Nuria Fernandez   Spain 4:06.57 SB
9 Lucy van Dalen   New Zealand 4:06.97
10 Kaila McKnight   Australia 4:08.44

Heat 2Edit

Rank Athlete Nationality Time Notes
1 Abeba Aregawi   Ethiopia 4:01.03 Q
N/A Gamze Bulut   Turkey 4:01.18 Q, PB
2 Tatyana Tomashova   Russia 4:02.10 Q
3 Maryam Yusuf Jamal   Bahrain 4:02.18 Q, SB
4 Hellen Onsando Obiri   Kenya 4:02.30 Q
N/A Natallia Kareiva   Belarus 4:02.37 q, PB
5 Laura Weightman   Great Britain 4:02.99 q, PB
6 Lucia Klocova   Slovakia 4:02.99 q, NR
7 Siham Hilali   Morocco 4:04.79
8 Zoe Buckman   Australia 4:05.03 PB
9 Nicole Sifuentes   Canada 4:06.33
10 Jennifer Simpson   United States 4:06.89


Rank Athlete Nationality Time Notes[9]
  Maryam Yusuf Jamal   Bahrain 4:10.74
  Tatyana Tomashova   Russia 4:10.90
  Abeba Aregawi   Ethiopia 4:11.03
4 Shannon Rowbury   United States 4:11.26
5 Lucia Klocová   Slovakia 4:12.64
6 Lisa Dobriskey   Great Britain 4:13.02
7 Laura Weightman   Great Britain 4:15.60
8 Hellen Onsando Obiri   Kenya 4:16.57
n/a Morgan Uceny   United States n/a DNF
n/a Aslı Çakır Alptekin   Turkey 4:10.23 DQ (doping)
n/a Gamze Bulut   Turkey 4:10.40 DQ (doping)
n/a Natallia Kareiva   Belarus 4:11.58 DQ (doping)
n/a Yekaterina Kostetskaya   Russia 4:12.90 DQ (doping)


  1. ^ Mallon, Bill (26 Sep 2017). "2008-12 OLYMPIC DOPING RE-TEST – AN UPDATE-UPDATE". Retrieved 2017-10-16.
  2. ^ "Athletics".
  3. ^ "The XXX Olympic Games Olympic Games".
  4. ^ Hart, Simon (3 May 2013). "Turkish Olympic champion Cakir Alptekin dopes positive". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2013-05-04.
  5. ^ "Asli Cakir Alptekin Charged With Doping". The New York Times. 3 May 2013.
  6. ^ "Women's Olympic 1500 Champ Reportedly Fails Drug Test". Runner's World.
  7. ^ a b "List of athletes currently serving a period of ineligibility as a result of an Anti-Doping Rule Violation under IAAF Rules". IAAF. 28 July 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-31.
  8. ^ "Turkey's Asli Cakir Alptekin stripped of Olympic 1500m title for doping". 17 August 2015.
  9. ^ a b "1500m women results – Athletics – London 2012 Olympics".
  10. ^ Bulut to lose medals, in turkish
  11. ^ "Newsletter 181". 29 March 2017.
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  13. ^ "Seven Russians handed doping bans". BBC Sport. BBC. 20 October 2008. Retrieved 2009-05-27.
  14. ^ "Swedish 1500m runner Abeba Aregawi suspended after positive drugs test". 29 February 2016.
  15. ^ "IAAF: Doping sanctions News 156".
  16. ^ London 2012 1500 m women
  17. ^ "Athletics at the 2012 London Summer Games:". Olympics at
  18. ^ "Athletics at the 2012 London Summer Games". Olympics at
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