Getty Images

Russia Olympic biathlon gold medalists face doping charges

Leave a comment

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.

MORE: Biathlon president steps down after doping raid

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Federica Brignone passes Mikaela Shiffrin for World Cup overall lead

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Italian Federica Brignone passed an absent Mikaela Shiffrin for the World Cup overall standings lead by winning a combined in Switzerland on Sunday.

Brignone prevailed by .92 of a second adding times from super-G and slalom runs in Crans-Montana. Full results are here.

Brignone moved 73 points ahead of Shiffrin in the overall through 29 of 40 scheduled races. A race winner receives 100 points on a descending scale through the 30th-place finisher. The season runs through March 22.

Shiffrin, the three-time reigning World Cup overall champion, has not competed since the unexpected death of her father on Feb. 2. She has not announced if or when she will return this season.

Brignone, 29, is having a career season with five wins and 10 podiums across four disciplines.

Brignone’s best previous World Cup overall standings finish was fifth. She earned giant slalom medals at the 2018 Olympics (bronze) and 2011 World Championships (silver).

She could become Italy’s first female World Cup overall champion. The last Italian male winner was Alberto Tomba in 1995.

The women’s Alpine skiing World Cup moves to La Thuile, Italy, for a super-G and a combined next Saturday and Sunday.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Alpine skiing season TV schedule

Jade Carey on brink of becoming first gymnast to qualify for U.S. Olympic team

Leave a comment

The U.S. Olympic gymnastics trials aren’t until late June, but Jade Carey is in position to qualify for the Tokyo Games in March.

Carey, seeking an individual Olympic gymnastics spot outside of the team competition, earned the maximum points in a World Cup series that is one path to Olympic qualification.

Carey has three wins each on floor exercise and vault with two World Cups left in March. Carey will mathematically clinch an Olympic spot if no other gymnasts earn maximum points on one of the apparatuses to force a tiebreaker.

A gymnast’s top three finishes across the eight-stop series count in Olympic qualifying. If Carey finishes atop the floor or vault standings, she goes to the Olympics.

Carey picked up those third wins on floor and vault at the sixth World Cup in Melbourne, Australia, this weekend.

So far, no other gymnast has two wins on floor. One other gymnast can get to the maximum points on vault with one win between the last two stops (and others with two).

The one downside to qualifying this route: Carey would not be able to compete in the team competition at the Olympics. Those four spots will be determined at and after June’s trials in St. Louis, with Simone Biles likely grabbing one of them.

“I knew I would be giving up being on the team,” Carey said in October of going the World Cup route, “but I think, for me, it made sense to just go for it.”

Carey is a world medalist on vault and floor, but she doesn’t have the all-around credentials of Biles and some other U.S. gymnasts.

Olympic team event roster sizes were cut from five to four for Tokyo, putting a greater onus on all-around prowess given a team must put three gymnasts on each apparatus in the Olympic final.

The U.S. is the deepest country in women’s gymnastics, so the only truly safe pick to make the four-woman Olympic team event roster is Biles.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Olympic vault champion retires