Vitaly & Yuliya StepanovAnti-Doping Whistleblower & Former Employee of Russian Anti-Doping Agency;
Anti-Doping Whistleblower & Elite Athlete
Originally from Chelyabinsk and Kursk, Russia, Vitaly Stepanov and Yuliya Stepanova have both been instrumental in exposing the Russian doping scandal.
Vitaly worked at RUSADA (the Russian Anti-Doping Agency) from 2008 to 2011. Since this time, he has continued to fight for clean sport and a level playing field to the best of his abilities. Yuliya was a member of the Russian national track and field team from 2010 to 2013. She regrets doping in the past and not speaking up sooner, but she hopes that her actions over the past five years have shown that she has changed.
As a family, the Stepanovs were able to see how doping was covered up in Russia from both sides – from an anti-doping official’s perspective and from an athlete’s perspective. Even though their views on doping were not always the same, they managed to come to the same view and decided to try to change the situation in Russian Olympic sport.
The couple, who married in October 2009, are seen by the Russian media, Russian politicians and Russian sports officials as traitors and liars. However, the Western world has taken a more lenient view of their actions. In June 2016, Vitaly and Yuliya were recognised as Play True Champions by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
In September 2016, the couple met with IOC President Thomas Bach. They had a positive, frank discussion, after which Vitaly became an IOC consultant on anti-doping matters and Yuliya was given an Olympic training scholarship.
In April 2017, Yuliya received the Partnership for Clean Competition Award in recognition of her courageous, outstanding and historic contribution to anti-doping and to clean sport.
In November 2017, the Stepanovs, together with investigative journalist Hajo Seppelt, received the biennial Play the Game Award for their uncovering of the unprecedented doping conspiracy among Russian and international sports leaders. Play the Game is an international movement that aims to strengthen the ethical foundation of sport and promote democracy, transparency and freedom of expression in sport.
When opportunities arise, both Vitaly and Yuliya would like to continue fighting for clean sport and a level playing field in the future. Their four-year-old son, Robert, has been on an anti-doping crusade all his life.