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Russia investigated for doping forgery claim related to world silver medalist

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MOSCOW (AP) — The Russian track and field federation said Sunday it’s cooperating with an investigation into allegations its officials submitted forged paperwork in a doping case.

British newspaper The Sunday Times reported that documents from a fake clinic were filed to the Athletics Integrity Unit, which investigates doping cases, as evidence an athlete was too ill to update anti-doping officials on his whereabouts.

The case could derail Russia’s efforts to end its suspension from international track and field in time for next year’s Olympics. Track’s world governing body, the IAAF, is due to rule next week on whether to maintain the ban.

The athlete in question is world silver medalist high jumper Danil Lysenko. The 22-year-old is widely considered one of Russia’s best young athletes and was one of dozens of top Russians with IAAF-issue “neutral status,” allowing him to compete internationally.

However, last year he was suspended on accusations of failing to make himself available for drug testing by giving accurate updates on his whereabouts.

Failing to do so three times in 12 months generally leads to a ban, but sanctions can be reduced or removed altogether if there are mitigating circumstances such as serious illness.

“In the case of Lysenko, the federation is providing full assistance to the Athletics Integrity Unit and we are in contact and cooperation,” federation president Dmitry Shlyakhtin said in a statement, adding that the federation “has an interest in the investigation being objective.”

The federation didn’t comment when asked whether any of its staff were suspended.

The AIU confirmed it is investigating a Russian athlete’s explanation in a whereabouts case, but didn’t give further details.

“The IAAF is sticking to the process we have followed since RUSAF was suspended,” the IAAF said using an abbreviation for the Russian federation. “The (IAAF’s Russia task force) will prepare a report on all relevant matters and a recommendation for the IAAF council, which will meet in Monaco on June 8 and 9.”

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2026 Winter Olympic host: Milan-Cortina

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Italy will host the 2026 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, with Milan-Cortina winning an IOC vote over a Swedish-Latvian bid centered on Stockholm.

After Winter Games in Vancouver (2010), Sochi (2014), PyeongChang (2018) and Beijing (2022), they return to a traditional European site for the first time since Italy hosted in Torino in 2006.

The two bids were left after five others dropped out for various reasons, all in 2018: Calgary, Canada; Erzurum, Turkey; Sapporo, Japan; Graz, Austria and Sion, Switzerland.

With the 2024 and 2028 Summer Games hosts both decided two years ago (Paris for 2024, Los Angeles for 2028), next up is the 2030 Winter Games. The U.S. has already said that if it bids, it will be with Salt Lake City, which held the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Italy will host the Winter Games for a third time after Cortina d’Ampezzo in 1956 and Torino in 2006.

Its bid presentation Monday included all three Italian 2018 Olympic champions — Arianna Fontana (short track), Michela Moioli (snowboard cross) and Sofia Goggia (downhill). The presentation ended with 15-year-old short track speed skater Elisa Confortola addressing more than 80 IOC members.

Sweden has finished second or third in all seven of its Winter Olympic bid votes, including six straight from 1984 through 2002, according to the OlyMADMen. The Stockholm–Åre bid was trying to become the first Winter Games held in multiple countries, with Latvia holding bobsled, luge and skeleton.

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Japan’s gymnastics worlds team: no Kohei Uchimura, Kenzo Shirai

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Not only is Kohei Uchimura going to miss the world championships, but so is 11-time world medalist Kenzo Shirai.

Japan finalized its five-man team for October’s worlds in Stuttgart, Germany, following a national-level meet this past weekend. Uchimura, arguably the greatest gymnast in history, was already out of the running, sidelined with his latest round of injuries.

Shirai, reportedly slowed by a left ankle injury this season, did compete this weekend. But he finished fifth on floor exercise and third on vault, his two best events, and did not earn one of the last two spots on the world team.

Uchimura, a two-time Olympic all-around champion with six world all-around titles, misses worlds for the first time since 2007. Shirai, a 22-year-old with four world titles between floor and vault, had competed in every worlds since debuting in 2013, just after his 17th birthday.

Without their two stars, Japan sends a relatively inexperienced team. Kazuma Kaya and Wataru Tanigawa, both 22, are the only men who have been to a worlds (and were part of the 2018 silver-medal team). The youngest member is 17-year-old Daiki Hashimoto.

Japan has earned a team medal at every Olympics and world championships since 2003, a streak bettered only by the U.S. women.

MORE: Olympic gymnastics team sizes return to five for Paris 2024

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