Russian officials deny report they admitted to doping program

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The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) and its director general denied a New York Times report that Russian officials, including the director general, admitted that a doping program for the Sochi Olympics took place.

To be clear, Russian sports officials, specifically former sports minister Vitaly Mutko, have for months admitted that there is a doping problem in the country.

On Tuesday, the newspaper reported that Russian officials “admitted they carried out widespread Olympic doping.”

“It was an institutional conspiracy,” RUSADA director general Anna Antseliovich said, according to the newspaper, which added that she spoke “of years’ worth of cheating schemes, while emphasizing that the government’s top officials were not involved.”

On Wednesday, Antseliovich said her words were taken out of context, according to a Facebook account reported to be hers by Russian media.

Also Wednesday, RUSADA said Antseliovich’s words “institutional conspiracy” were taken out of context. They were referring to a summation of the previously published McLaren report on Russian doping, RUSADA said.

“[The newspaper report] created an impression that RUSADA management admits to the existence of such institutional conspiracy of doping cover-up in Russia,” RUSADA’s statement read. “We would like to stress that RUSADA has no authority to admit to or deny any such fact, since the investigation of the case is handled by the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation.”

The International Olympic Committee has said there is evidence of violations regarding Russian athletes’ doping samples in Sochi.

The IOC opened disciplinary cases against 28 Russian athletes from Sochi “for whom there is evidence of manipulation of one or more of their urine samples” from those Winter Games.

Six Russian cross-country skiers have already been provisionally suspended by the International Ski Federation (FIS) in connection with the IOC disciplinary cases.

Russian media reported the six include the two most decorated Russian skiers from the Sochi Olympics — 50km gold and silver medalists Alexander Legkov and Maxim Vylegzhanin.

FIS would not confirm or deny the names. The Russia Ski Association has not responded to a request for comment.

MORE: Over 1,000 Russian athletes involved in organized doping, report says

South Korea’s first gold medalist of 2018 PyeongChang Olympics to compete for China

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Lim Hyo-Jun, a short track speed skater who won South Korea’s first gold medal of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, has been cleared to skate for China and was reportedly named to the national team Monday.

Lim, who won the 1500m on the first day of medal competition at the PyeongChang Games, began the process of switching to China after a June 2019 incident where he pulled down a teammate’s trousers, leaving him standing, exposed, in front of female teammates.

Lim, the 2019 World overall champion, was banned from the team for a year and later found guilty of sexual harassment before the verdict was overturned on appeal.

It was reported in March 2021 that Lim was in the process of trying to gain Chinese nationality to compete at the Beijing Winter Olympics, but Lim was not cleared to switch by the International Skating Union until this July. His Chinese name is Lin Xiaojun.

Another star South Korean skater, triple 2006 Olympic gold medalist Ahn Hyun-Soo, switched to Russia after not making the 2010 Olympic team. He then won three golds for the host nation as Viktor Ahn at the 2014 Sochi Games.

China’s national team for the upcoming season reportedly does not include veterans Wu Dajing, the nation’s lone gold medalist across all sports at the 2018 Olympics, and Fan Kexin, a three-time Olympic medalist.

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Brigid Kosgei, world record holder, to miss London Marathon

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World record holder Brigid Kosgei withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon due to a right hamstring injury that has bothered her for the last month.

“My training has been up and down and not the way I would like to prepare to be in top condition,” was posted on Kosgei’s social media. “We’ve decided it’s best I withdraw from this year’s race and get further treatment on my injuries in order to enter 2023 stronger than ever.”

Kosgei, a 28-year-old Kenyan mother of twins, shattered the world record by 81 seconds at the 2019 Chicago Marathon. She clocked 2:14:04 to smash Brit Paula Radcliffe‘s record from 2003.

Since, Kosgei won the 2020 London Marathon, took silver at the Tokyo Olympics, placed fourth at the 2021 London Marathon and won this past March’s Tokyo Marathon in what was then the third-fastest time in history (2:16:02).

Ethiopian Tigist Assefa moved into the top three by winning the Berlin Marathon last Sunday in 2:15:37.

The London Marathon women’s field includes Kenyan Joyciline Jepkosgei, a winner in New York City (2019) and London (2021), and Yalemzerf Yehualaw, who was the Ethiopian record holder until Assefa won in Berlin.

The men’s field is headlined by Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, the second-fastest male marathoner in history, and Brit Mo Farah, a four-time Olympic champion on the track.

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