Yet another Olympic athlete could see her medal stripped after she was caught doping, but Russia’s Darya Pishchalnikova is facing a much more severe penalty for this, her second offense: a lifetime ban.
Russian’s Anti-doping Agency executive director Nikita Kamayev said Thursday that the 2011 world champ and London silver medalist was being investigated by WADA after she recently tested positive for anabolic steroids.
“An athlete who commits a second offence involving [anabolic steroids] could face from eight years to a life ban,” Kamayev told the Russian media. “As for the Olympic silver medal, it depends when her suspension would start if she was found guilty this time.”
The 27-year-old has had quite the controversial career, having served a suspension of nearly three years after she and six other female Russian athletes were found guilty of manipulating samples before the 2008 Games.
Pishchalnikova was also stripped of her 2009 world silver medal and had all her results from May 2007 to the end of her suspension in April of 2011 expunged by the International Association of Athletics Federations.
All that adds up to the likelihood of a lifetime ban if found guilty, but Pishchalnikova maintains her innocence and has exercised her right to have her B sample analyzed as part of the investigation.
If found guilty she’d join Belarusian shot put gold medalist Nadzeya Ostapchuk and Uzbekistani bronze medal wrestler Soslan Tigiev on the list of London athletes who’ve lost their medals due to doping.
Australian golfer Marc Leishman will miss the Rio Olympics due to his wife’s health.
“Many of you may know that last April my children and I almost lost my wife, Audrey, to toxic shock syndrome,” Leishman said in a statement. “Since then Audrey has been prone to infection and is far removed from 100 percent recovery of her immune system.
“We have consulted with Audrey’s physician and due to her ongoing recovery from toxic shock and potential risks associated with the transmission of the Zika virus, it was a difficult yet easy decision not to participate.
“I missed playing in the 2015 Masters tournament to be at her side when she was originally stricken and I cannot risk placing her health in jeopardy.
“The Masters and the Olympics are the two biggest tournaments to which a golfer can be invited; however, my family will always come before golf.”
Leishman, 32 with one PGA Tour win, joined the projected Olympic field when countryman Adam Scott said last month that he would skip Rio.
World No. 1 Jason Day is assured one of two Olympic spots for Australian men when the 60-man field is determined based on July 11 world rankings.
With No. 7 Scott and No. 35 Leishman out, the next-best Aussie is No. 63 Marcus Fraser.
Three more major champions — Vijay Singh, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel — also said in April they would not compete in Rio.
Golf returns to the Olympics for the first time since 1904.
MORE: Australia Olympic legend blasts Adam Scott
Rory McIlroy believes golf may not remain in the Olympics after 2020 following a string of major champions announcing they will skip the sport’s return at the Rio Games.
“Because of how [Olympic golf is] being approached in golf circles … I’m not sure if we’re going to have another opportunity to win a gold medal after [Tokyo 2020],” McIlroy said ahead of the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, N.C., on Wednesday.
In 2009, the International Olympic Committee voted to re-add golf and rugby to the Olympic program for the 2016 Olympics, with a review in 2017 if they would remain for the 2020 Olympics.
In 2013, Tokyo was elected host city for the 2020 Olympics with a plan that includes golf.
Beyond 2020, golf does not yet have a place in the Olympics. Its chances for the 2024 Olympics could come into focus when that host city is chosen in September 2017.
McIlroy, ranked No. 3 in the world, has repeated he will play for Ireland in the first Olympic golf tournament since 1904 in Rio in August.
Fellow major champions Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and Vijay Singh said last month they will not play in the Rio Olympics.
MORE: Golf Channel’s Olympic broadcast schedule