Athens Olympic hammer throw champ Olga Kuzenkova of Russia has had two years of her career annulled and is set to lose her 2005 world title after samples from the event, held in Helsinki, tested positive for a yet-to-be-named substance when they were recently reexamined.
She’ll lose everything between August 12, 2005 to August 11, 2007, but this shouldn’t affect Kuzenkova going forward, since she retired after failing to make the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Still, it brings into question her 2004 Athens gold medal in the hammer just as samples from those Games are being retested before the eight year statute of limitations on changing results runs out.
Speaking of which, Kuzenkova’s compatriot Svetlana Krivelyova has had her shot put bronze from the 2004 Games taken away after her samples tested positive for anabolic steroids during reexamination.
Strangely, Krivelyova was only promoted to bronze after Russian teammate Irina Korzhanenko was stripped of her gold in the shot put for similar reasons. No word yet on whether Nadzeya Ostapchuk of Belarus will now be promoted to that 2004 bronze medal, mostly because she was just stripped of her gold from London in the same event. There are no words…
If Serena Williams is to win a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title at the French Open, she may have to go through her older sister in the fourth round.
Williams, the sixth seed, could play Venus Williams in the round of 16 at Roland Garros, which begins Sunday.
Serena opens against countrywoman Kristie Ahn, whom she beat in the first round at the U.S. Open. Serena could then get her U.S. Open quarterfinal opponent, fellow mom Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria, in the second round.
If Venus is to reach the fourth round, she must potentially get past U.S. Open runner-up Victoria Azarenka in the second round. Azarenka beat Serena in the U.S. Open semifinals, ending the American’s latest bid to tie Margaret Court‘s major titles record.
Venus lost in the French Open first round the last two years.
The French Open top seed is 2018 champion Simona Halep, who could play 2019 semifinalist Amanda Anisimova in the third round.
Coco Gauff, the rising 16-year-old American, gets 2019 semifinalist Jo Konta of Great Britain in the first round in the same quarter of the draw as Halep.
The field lacks defending champion Ash Barty of Australia, not traveling due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Also out: U.S. Open winner Naomi Osaka, citing a sore hamstring and tight turnaround from prevailing in New York two weeks ago.
Rafael Nadal was put into the same half of the French Open draw as fellow 2018 and 2019 finalist Dominic Thiem of Austria, with top-ranked Novak Djokovic catching a break.
Nadal, trying to tie Roger Federer‘s male record 20 Grand Slam singles titles, could play sixth-seeded German Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinals before a potential clash with Thiem, who just won the U.S. Open.
Djokovic, who is undefeated in 2020 save being defaulted out of the U.S. Open, could play No. 7 seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy in the quarterfinals before a possible semifinal with Russian Daniil Medvedev.
Medvedev is the fourth seed but is 0-3 at the French Open. Another possible Djokovic semifinal opponent is fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, who reached the fourth round last year.
The most anticipated first-round matchup is between three-time major champion Andy Murray and 2015 French Open champion Stan Wawrinka. In Murray’s most recent French Open match, he lost in five sets to Wawrinka in the 2017 semifinals.