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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

Russia to finish Youth Olympics with most medals

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Russia clinched the top spot in the Youth Olympic medal standings, two days before the Closing Ceremony in Buenos Aires and eight months after it was excluded from the PyeongChang Winter Games for its doping problems.

The Russians have 52 medals with 25 golds so far, distancing the rest of the world.

1. Russia — 52 total, 25 gold
2. China — 36 total, 18 gold
3. Mixed NOCs — 36 total, 12 gold
4. Japan — 34 total, 14 gold
5. Italy — 31 total, 10 gold
10. U.S. — 15 total, 4 gold

China and Russia went one-two in total medals at the first two Youth Olympics in Singapore in 2010 and Nanjing, China in 2014. The U.S. has never topped a Youth Olympic total medal table, be it Summer or Winter Games.

The U.S. has, however, earned the most total medals at the last six Summer Olympics, beginning with the 1996 Atlanta Games.

The Youth Olympics, for athletes ages 14 to 18, do not emphasize medal counts (plus have many medal events where athletes from different nations compete on the same team). The Games include many Olympic events and some that are not on the Olympic program, including break dancing, where a Russian who goes by Bumblebee earned gold last week.

The next Youth Olympics are the winter version in the IOC base of Lausanne, Switzerland, in 2020, followed by the summer version in 2022 in Dakar, Senegal, the first Olympic Games of any kind to be held in Africa.

The Youth Olympics conclude with the last full day of medal competition on Wednesday and the Closing Ceremony on Thursday.

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MORE: Youth Olympic TV schedule

Aliya Mustafina returns to gymnastics worlds, year after giving birth

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Aliya Mustafina, an all-around medalist at the last two Olympics, made Russia’s team for next week’s world gymnastics championships, 16 months after giving birth to daughter Alisa.

Mustafina, 24, is joined by one Rio Olympic teammate, Angelina Melnikova, and three world championships rookies (plus Olympian Daria Spiridonova as an alternate), according to Russia’s gymnastics federation.

Mustafina is the last non-American woman to win an Olympic or world championships all-around, back in 2010 in her first year as a senior gymnast. A series of injuries followed, including surgeries on both knees and her left ankle.

She missed the 2015 Worlds with back pain but rebounded for a medal of every color in Rio (uneven bars gold, team silver and all-around bronze, just as she had done at London 2012).

Her seven total Olympic medals are tied for the most by a Russian woman since the fall of the Soviet Union with retired gymnast Svetlana Khorkina.

Viktoria Komova, the 2012 Olympic all-around silver medalist who has also struggled with injuries, is not on Russia’s team for worlds in Doha. She last competed at a global championship in 2015, sharing the uneven bars title with three other gymnasts.

Mustafina joins a list of distinguished moms to return to the top level of gymnastics, including Oksana Chusovitina, who began competing in the Soviet Union in the 1980s and, seven Olympics later, is still competing at age 43 (for Uzbekistan).

The most decorated Olympic gymnast, Soviet Larisa Latynina, earned 12 of her 18 medals after becoming a mom.

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