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61 weightlifting doping positives between 2008, 2012 Olympics

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Three more weightlifters failed retests of 2012 Olympic doping samples for steroids, bringing the total number of lifters to test positive from the 2008 and 2012 Olympics to a staggering 61 athletes, according to an Olympic historian.

Romanians Roxana Cocos (women’s 69kg silver medalist) and Razan Martin (men’s 69kg bronze medalist) and Turkey’s Erol Bilgin (eighth in men’s 62kg) had urine samples from 2012 retested and come back positive for metabolites of stanozolol, according to the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF).

That makes 35 total weightlifters who were entered in the 2012 London Games to fail drug tests from that event, according to Olympic historian Bill Mallon, who also counts 26 positives from the 2008 Beijing Games. A total of 34 of those lifters were original medalists, according to Mallon, though the IOC has not announced potential medals stripped for Cocos and Martin.

In the men’s 94kg event alone in London, all three medalists and six of the top seven finishers were disqualified, all for anabolic steroids. Thirteen of the 15 weight classes in London have at least one disqualification, with one clean men’s event and one clean women’s event left.

The IOC reduced the size of the weightlifting competition for the Tokyo Games. The new rules are a way of ensuring the countries most to blame for weightlifting’s predicament pay the heaviest price.

In April 2018, the IWF published new rules which limit countries to one male and one female entry in Tokyo if they have had more than 20 doping cases in the sport since July 2008. That list of countries includes Russia.

The new rules also force athletes to compete in at least six major events in the 18-month Olympic qualifying period. In the past, some lifters have barely competed ahead of the Olympics, leading to suspicions they were avoiding doping tests.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

(h/t @OlympicStatman)

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Wilson Kipsang, former marathon world-record holder, banned in doping case

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Wilson Kipsang, a former marathon world-record holder and Olympic bronze medalist, was provisionally suspended for whereabouts failures and tampering, according to doping officials.

The ban came from the Athletics Integrity Unit, track and field’s doping watchdog organization. Athletes must provide doping officials with locations to be available for out-of-competition testing, and missed tests can be tantamount to failed tests.

“At this point it is only an accusation,” a management group saying it represents Kipsang posted on social media. “We emphasize that there is no case of use of doping. No prohibited substance was found … and does not concern tampering with a doping test itself. Pending the case and our own investigation we will not communicate anything more about it.”

Kipsang, a 37-year-old Kenyan, won major marathons in New York City, London, Berlin and Tokyo between 2012 and 2017.

He lowered the world record to 2:03:23 at the 2013 Berlin Marathon, a mark that stood for one year until countryman Dennis Kimetto took it to 2:02:57 in Berlin. Another Kenyan, Eliud Kipchoge, lowered it to 2:01:39 at the 2018 Berlin Marathon.

Kipsang, the 2012 Olympic bronze medalist, last won a top-level marathon in Tokyo in 2017. He was third at the 2018 Berlin Marathon and 12th at his last marathon in London last April.

Kipsang is the latest Kenyan distance-running star to receive a doping-related ban.

Rita Jeptoo had Boston and Chicago Marathon titles stripped, and Jemima Sumgong was banned after winning the Rio Olympic marathon after both tested positive for EPO. Asbel Kiprop, a 2008 Olympic 1500m champion and a three-time world champ, was banned four years after testing positive for EPO in November 2017.

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Russia appeals Olympic ban to Court of Arbitration for Sport

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MOSCOW (AP) — Russia has confirmed that it will appeal its four-year Olympic ban for manipulating doping data.

The Russian anti-doping agency, known as RUSADA, sent a formal letter Friday disagreeing with the sanctions imposed earlier this month by the World Anti-Doping Agency. The case is now heading to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

MORE: WADA imposes four-year ban

Next year’s Olympics in Tokyo will be the third consecutive edition of the games preceded by a legal battle over Russian doping issues.

RUSADA said it “disputes the (WADA) notice in its entirety,” including the evidence of tampering with the data archive. The data was handed over in January and was meant to clear up past cover-ups, but has led to more legal tussles.

RUSADA’s own CEO, Yuri Ganus, attached his own note of protest to Friday’s letter. Ganus is critical of Russian officials and had disagreed with the decision to appeal. He was overruled by his agency’s founders, which include some of Russia’s most influential sports leaders.

The WADA sanctions ban the use of the Russian team name, flag or anthem at a range of major sports competitions over the next four years, including next year’s Olympics and the 2022 soccer World Cup.

However, Russian athletes will be allowed to compete as neutrals if they pass a vetting process which examines their history of drug testing and possible involvement in cover-ups at the lab. They will not be able to compete under the name “Olympic Athletes of Russia” as many athletes did in the 2018 Winter Games, where they won 17 medals.

Some anti-doping advocates, including outgoing WADA vice president Linda Helleland of Norway and U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart, have expressed disappointment that Russian athletes were not completely banned from the Olympics.

Russia will be allowed to participate in the Youth Olympics in Lausanne, Switzerland, that open Jan. 9.

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