Charlene Lipsey of the United States, the winner of the race, expressed support for Stepanova’s participation but also argued that athletes with a record of doping — a list that includes Stepanova — should not be allowed to compete professionally.
The race was the first international 800-meter competition that Stepanova had officially finished since September 2015, months before all Russian track and field athletes were barred from global competition amid the nation’s mounting doping scandal. Those sanctions remain in effect.
Over the summer, the International Olympic Committee denied Stepanova’s request to enter the Rio Games as a neutral athlete, refusing to exempt her from the ban in spite of the unanimous recommendation of track officials who commended the lengths to which she had gone as a whistle-blower.
Together with her husband, Stepanov, a former employee of Russia’s national antidoping agency, Stepanova spoke out about how Russian athletes had systematically doped and evaded drug testing, as she herself did until she was punished for a violation in early 2013.