Jade Johnson, Britain's No1 long jumper, was left angry and frustrated after the Olympic gold medal was won by a woman who has previously tested positive for drugs. Johnson was never in touching distance in the final, finishing seventh with 6.64m as the Brazilian Maurren Higa Maggi triumphed with 7.04m from her first attempt.
Five years ago, Maggi, 32, failed a test for the anabolic steroid Clostebol, although she was later cleared by the Brazilian Athletics Federation. She claimed that the substance was in her hair-removal cream. The International Association of Athletics Federations refused to ratify the acquittal and appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but Maggi, who had been sentenced to a two-year suspension, did not attend the hearing and served the suspension. "The more annoying thing for me was that she came back and won the Olympic Games," said Johnson. "That is the most annoying thing for me - ever.
"I don't think anyone should be allowed back, regardless. I still would only have come sixth but the girls a few down the line would have got a medal. I was hoping anyone would beat her.
"People should be banned for life if they take drugs. Simple as that. Two years is not long enough. I am sure you must still have it in your system and you must still have benefits.
"It's really frustrating when you train really hard. I didn't give my best today but if I was the girl in fourth place I would be really angry right now. You train really hard, you put everything in, you make sacrifices in everything."
"You know what, doping happens," Maggi said. "It was a bad accident for me. I knew I still have things to do. Today I came with gold, it is unbelievable."
Johnson's best came with her second attempt but Sweden's former Olympic heptathlon champion Carolina Kluft, who opted for the long jump instead of the multi-events, did not even make the cut. She was eliminated after three rounds in ninth with 6.49m but promised to stick with the discipline. "I was hoping to jump further but just to be part of this Olympics was great," said Kluft.
"Tonight it just did not work. My run-up was bad and I did not have the speed over the board. I know what it feels like to win gold and it is very good. But my inspiration comes from within. I am happy to have moved on and this was a new experience. I am carrying on with the long jump."
The Guardian, Saturday August 23 2008