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Ukrainian weightlifter stripped of 2012 Olympic bronze medal

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LONDON (AP) — A Ukrainian weightlifter was stripped of her bronze medal from the 2012 London Olympics on Wednesday, the first athlete formally disqualified by the IOC after the retesting of doping samples from the past two Summer Games.

Yulia Kalina, who finished third in the 58-kilogram division in London, tested positive for the steroid turinabol in reanalysis of her stored samples and was retroactively disqualified from the games, the International Olympic Committee said.

A three-man disciplinary panel stripped her of the medal and ordered her to return it.

The IOC asked the international weightlifting federation to revise the results and consider any further sanctions against Kalina, who could face a two-year ban.

The IOC recorded 55 positive results — 32 from Beijing and 23 from London — in the retesting program, which used enhanced techniques to catch cheats who escaped detection at the time. The Russian Olympic Committee has said 22 of the cases involved Russian athletes, including medalists.

The IOC stores Olympic doping samples for 10 years, allowing them to be reopened and reanalyzed when improved testing methods become available.

The latest retesting program targeted athletes who were in contention to compete at the upcoming Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, but has also been widened to cover many medalists.

IOC President Thomas Bach said Wednesday that further disqualifications will be announced once disciplinary procedures are completed, including hearings and testing of “B” samples.

“The majority of the cases have been dealt with on the IOC level and have been forwarded to the international federations,” Bach said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press and two other international news agencies. “The disciplinary commissions are working hard. We will know pretty soon.”

“If there are no surprises to the test results and the legal procedures, you can be sure wherever an infringement is proven there will be a sanction,” he said.

The International Weightlifting Federation reported last month that its sport had produced 20 positive cases. Four Olympic gold medalists from Kazakhstan and medalists from Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Belarus have already been provisionally suspended by the IWF.

Entire teams from Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Azerbaijan could be barred from the Rio Olympics because three or more positive cases from each country were discovered during the retests. Each national federation faces a possible one-year ban.

MORE: Thomas Bach cites ‘right to individual justice’ in Russian doping

Ester Ledecka must decide between ski, snowboard worlds

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SELVA DI VAL GARDENA, Italy (AP) — Skier-snowboarder Ester Ledecka will not be able to follow up her dual sport gold-medal performances at the PyeongChang Olympics with a similar haul of world titles this season.

That’s because the schedule won’t allow it, and she’s not happy about it.

The parallel giant slalom at the world freestyle skiing and snowboard championships in Utah is Feb. 4 — the same day downhill training opens at Alpine skiing worlds in Are, Sweden, and a day before the super-G.

“I was a little bit hoping they would reschedule the snowboard race — put it a week earlier so I could do it both — but they didn’t want to so I have to choose,” Ledecka said Tuesday after placing 29th in a World Cup downhill.

In PyeongChang, Ledecka followed her super-G title by winning the parallel GS in snowboarding — becoming the first athlete to win two golds at one Winter Games using two different types of equipment.

The 23-year-old Czech is the reigning world champion in parallel GS.

Ledecka said she brought up the issue with the International Ski Federation, which governs both sports.

“On one side I see their point. For one athlete why should they do that, right? But from the other side I think I made snowboarding a little more popular, and I think a lot of fans would be happy to see me compete in both,” Ledecka said. “It’s their decision, and I have to respect it.”

Ledecka has not decided which worlds she’ll compete in. She’s currently going back and forth between the snowboard and ski circuits.

Last week, she finished first and second in two parallel GS events in Italy and then switched to downhill skis this week. She was fastest in a downhill training run Monday before finishing 29th in Tuesday’s race.

“I think I can decide right before,” Ledecka said. “But it will probably be early, so I’m well prepared.”

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Sandro Viletta, Olympic super combined champion, retires

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Sandro Viletta, the surprise 2014 Olympic super combined champion, retired from Alpine skiing at age 32 after major injuries, according to the Swiss Ski Federation.

Viletta, who did not defend his Olympic title in PyeongChang, has not raced on the World Cup since tearing a knee ligament in a December 2016 super-G crash. He hasn’t raced anywhere since another knee ligament tear in a lower-level race in March.

Viletta took gold in Sochi despite having one World Cup podium to his name (from more than two years earlier). Viletta was 14th in the downhill part of the Olympic combined, then had the second-fastest slalom to win by. 34 over Croatian Ivica Kostelic.

“I did not think this was possible; I did not expect to win, even after I had the lead today,” Viletta told reporters after the race. “But on one day, I had the perfect day.”

Viletta was the lowest-ranked racer in the downhill to come back to win the Olympic combined since the format changed from two slalom runs to one in 2010. He is Switzerland’s lone Olympic men’s Alpine champion from the last two Winter Games.

The combined’s place at the Olympics and world championships and on the World Cup is in peril as the International Ski Federation has incorporated more parallel slalom and giant slalom races in recent years.

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