Gamze Bulut
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More Olympic distance-running medalists banned for doping

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MONACO (AP) — Turkish runners Elvan Abeylegesse and Gamze Bulut were banned for doping Wednesday and stand to lose their Olympic silver medals.

Abeylegesse tested positive for the banned steroid stanozolol in a retest of a sample she gave at the 2007 World Championships. She was banned for two years by the IAAF and had her results wiped out from 2007-09.

Abeylegesse won Olympic silver medals in the 5000m and 10,000m at the 2008 Beijing Games and silver in the 10,000m at the 2007 World Championships.

American Shalane Flanagan stands to get the silver medal in the 10,000m, with third for Linet Chepkwemoi Masai of Kenya. In the 5000m, Meseret Defar of Ethiopia would get silver and Sylvia Kibet of Kenya would get bronze.

American Kara Goucher stands to upgrade from bronze to silver in the 2007 Worlds 10,000m.

The IAAF also said it had imposed a four-year ban on Bulut for a violation of its biological passport program.

Bulut’s results from July 2011 have been wiped out, which will cost her the silver medal in the 1500m at the 2012 London Olympics. In that race, Bulut finished behind Turkish runner Asli Cakir Alptekin, who has also since been banned.

Maryam Yusuf Jamal of Bahrain stands to inherit gold, with silver for Tatyana Tomashova of Russia, who has previously served a ban for giving someone else’s urine in a doping test. Bronze would go to Abeba Aregawi, who represented Ethiopia in 2012 but now races for Sweden.

Bulut has also been disqualified from the 2012 European Championships, when she originally finished second behind Alptekin in the 1500m. Spanish runner Nuria Fernandez, originally fifth, is now the highest-placed athlete who has not been disqualified from that race for doping violations.

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Athletes, anti-doping leaders issues statement on RUSADA status

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More Olympic athletes and anti-doping leaders have come out in protest of the possible reinstatement of Russia’s anti-doping agency.

Members of the athletes committees from the World Anti-Doping Agency and the U.S. Olympic Committee, along with a group of international anti-doping leaders and a key supporter of a Russian whistleblower, released statements Tuesday urging WADA’s executive committee not to reinstate RUSADA when it meets later this week.

Jim Swartz, a supporter of former Moscow anti-doping lab director Grigory Rodchenkov, said “WADA has undermined its own moral and regulatory authority” by proposing a weakened version of the roadmap to bring RUSADA back into compliance.

The agency has been suspended for nearly three years in the wake of what investigators said was a state-sponsored doping scandal designed to win Olympic medals.

The WADA athletes’ group is led by Beckie Scott, who resigned her position on WADA’s compliance review committee after it recommended RUSADA’s reinstatement last week.

Italy’s focus for 2026 bid now on Milan, Cortina d’Ampezzo

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ROME (AP) — Italy’s three-pronged bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics has been reduced to a two-city candidacy featuring Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo.

Following Turin’s exclusion, the Italian Olympic Committee is sending a delegation featuring Milan and Cortina representatives to meet with IOC leaders on Wednesday.

The move comes after government undersecretary and sports delegate Giancarlo Giorgetti told the Senate on Tuesday that the three-city proposal “is dead.”

Turin’s exclusion follows infighting between Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala and Turin counterpart Chiara Appendino, who had been arguing over the bid’s leadership and naming rights.

Peliminary bids are due to be presented at IOC meetings in Buenos Aires next month.

“The candidacy needs to be saved, so we’re open to moving forward together,” Veneto region president Luca Zaia and Lombardy region president Attilio Fontana said in a joint statement.

“If Turin is withdrawing, which upsets us, at this point two realities remain, and they are called Veneto and Lombardy. So we are moving forward with the Lombardy-Veneto Olympics.”

Under the revised plan, hockey and speedskating — which had been slotted for venues built for the 2006 Turin Games — would be held in Milan. Alpine skiing would be held in 1956 host Cortina, while biathlon would be slated for nearby Anterselva — a regular stop on the biathlon World Cup circuit.

Three other bids remain in contention for 2026: Stockholm, Sweden; Calgary, Canada; and Erzurum, Turkey.

The Japanese city of Sapporo dropped its bid on Monday following a recent earthquake.

International Olympic Committee members will pick the host in Milan in October 2019. While IOC rules have long prevented bids from the host country of an IOC session, new rules have created more leeway.

Italy is anxious to bring a bid through the entire process after two Rome candidacies were withdrawn.

Two years ago, Italy was forced to end Rome’s bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics because of staunch opposition from the city’s mayor. And in 2012, then-premier Mario Monti scrapped the city’s bid for the 2020 Olympics because of financial concerns.