Russia Olympic biathlon gold medalists face doping charges

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Yevgeny Ustyugov and Svetlana Sleptsova, two of Russia’s six gold medalists from the 2010 Olympics, are among four Russian biathletes charged with some of the nation’s latest doping violations, the International Biathlon Union said Friday.

The IBU cases derive from doping samples collected between 2012 and 2015 and are corroborated by information from the Richard McLaren report into Russian sports doping.

None of Ustyugov, Sleptsova and Alexander Chernysev have competed on the top international level in at least one year. The only active biathlete charged, Alexander Pechenkin, was provisionally suspended.

Russian media named Ustyugov, Sleptsova, Chernysev and Pechenkin as four biathletes charged with doping violations three months ago, when the IBU announced that four unnamed Russians’ cases would be brought to a doping hearing panel if the violations were not accepted.

Ustyugov, 33, earned one of Russia’s two individual Olympic gold medals in 2010. The nation’s disappointing results across all sports in Vancouver, along with hosting the next Winter Games in Sochi, helped lead to what McLaren’s 2016 report called “the well-oiled systemic cheating scheme” put in place ahead of the 2014 Olympics.

Russia’s other individual gold medalist from 2010, cross-country skier Nikita Kryukov, was banned from the Olympics for life by the IOC last November but reinstated upon appeal in January. He was still not invited to the PyeongChang Games by the IOC.

Sleptsova was part of Russia’s gold-medal relay team in 2010 anchored by Olga Zaitseva, who was implicated in the mass Sochi doping and stripped of her 2014 relay silver.

In 2014, Ustyugov was part of Russia’s Olympic champion relay team.

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