Tatyana Lysenko
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Russia Olympic hammer throw champion banned for doping

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MOSCOW (AP) — Olympic hammer throw champion Tatyana Beloborodova of Russia has been suspended in a doping case, the IAAF said Tuesday, potentially increasing pressure on the country’s track and field team.

Russian state media reported that a sample Beloborodova gave at the 2005 World Championships had tested positive in a retest. The IAAF did not confirm the claim.

Beloborodova previously served a two-year ban for steroid use in 2007, and a second offense could leave her with a lengthy ban, potentially affecting the Olympic gold medal she won in 2012.

The 32-year-old Beloborodova, who was known as Tatyana Lysenko until 2014, has also won two World titles and is a former world-record holder in the hammer. She returned to competition last year after giving birth, but has not competed this season.

Russia is currently banned from all international track and field competitions, including the Olympics, after a World Anti-Doping Agency commission report in November detailed systematic, state-sponsored doping. However, Russia hopes to have the suspension lifted before the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in August.

Samples from older competitions, including the Olympics, are often retested years later to allow them to be examined with the most modern equipment available.

Previous retesting of some 2005 samples in 2013 revealed banned substances in samples given by five medal winners. However, the latest round of retests, which began last year, is controversial.

A Russian runner, Tatyana Andrianova, was banned by the IAAF in December after the banned substance stanozolol was found in her 2005 sample, costing her a bronze medal in the 800 meters.

However, the IAAF says Andrianova is now appealing the verdict at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

A key issue is the IAAF’s interpretation of the time limit for retesting samples, which was increased from eight to 10 years by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

That prompted the IAAF to launch the retesting program which caught Andrianova, but there has been opposition to this retrospective increase. Under the eight-year limit in force in 2005, she and other doped athletes at the 2005 championships would not have been eligible for retesting after 2013.

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko on Tuesday told Russian news agency R-Sport that he believed those retests were illegal.

“In our view, the given situation is a breach of the relevant rule,” Mutko said. “We will dispute it.”

The IAAF said it would not comment further on any doping cases from the 2005 Worlds until Andrianova’s legal dispute is resolved.

MORE: Maria Sharapova doping hearing could be in June

Sam Girard, Olympic short track champion, surprisingly retires at age 22

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Sam Girard, who avoided a three-skater pileup to win the PyeongChang Olympic 1000m, retired from short track speed skating at age 22, saying he lost the desire to compete.

“I leave my sport satisfied with what I have accomplished,” Girard said in a press release. “This decision was very well thought through. I am at peace with the choice that I’ve made and am ready to move onto the next step.”

Girard and girlfriend and fellow Olympic skater Kasandra Bradette announced their careers end together in a tearful French-language press conference in Quebec on Friday.

Girard detailed the decision in a letter, the sacrifices made to pursue skating. Notably, moving from his hometown of Ferland-et-Boilleau, population 600, to Montreal in 2012. His hobbies had been of the outdoor variety, but he now had to drive an hour and a half from the training center just to go fishing.

In PyeongChang, Girard led for most of the 1000m final, which meant he avoided chaos behind him on the penultimate lap of the nine-lap race. Hungarian Liu Shaolin Sandor‘s inside pass took out South Koreans Lim Hyo-Jun and Seo Yi-Ra, leaving just Girard and American John-Henry Krueger.

Girard maintained his lead, crossing .214 in front of Krueger to claim the title. He also finished fourth in the 500m and 1500m and earned bronze in the relay.

“My first Olympics, won a gold medal, can’t ask for more,” he said afterward.

Though Girard was already accomplished — earning individual silver medals at the 2016 and 2017 Worlds — he came to PyeongChang as the heir apparent to Charles Hamelin, a roommate on the World Cup circuit whom Girard likened to a big brother. Girard earned another world silver medal this past season.

Hamelin, after taking individual gold in 2010 and 2014, left PyeongChang without an individual medal in what many expected to be his last Olympics. However, he went back on a retirement vow and continued to skate through the 2018-19 season.

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MORE: J.R. Celski explains decision to retire

Maia, Alex Shibutani extend break from ice dance competition

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Brother-sister ice dance duo Maia and Alex Shibutani will not compete next season, the Olympic bronze medalists announced via U.S. Figure Skating on Friday.

“We’re healthier and stronger than we were after the Olympics, and we’re continuing to push ourselves,” Maia Shibutani said in a press release.

“We’ve continued to skate a lot, and we feel like we’ve benefited from some time away to create in different environments and focus on experiences that can help us grow,” Alex said.

The “Shib Sibs” won the U.S. title in 2016 and 2017. They won their first world medal in 2011 (bronze) before reaching the world podium again in 2016 and 2017 with silver and bronze, respectively.

They most recently competed at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, where they earned bronze both individually and in the team event.

Maia and Alex Shibutani are now the second ice dance medalists from PyeongChang to announce they’ll sit out at least part of next season. Gold medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada will tour instead this fall and are not expected to return to competition.

The siblings haven’t stayed away from the ice entirely in their break from the sport, though — they’ve also been touring and performing in shows.

The Shibutanis became the second set of siblings to earn Olympic ice dance medals after France’s Isabelle and Paul Duchesnay in 1992.

MORE: How Gracie Gold landed in Philadelphia, thoughts competitive return

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