Ilya Zakharov

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Ilya Zakharov, Olympic diving champion, retires after missing drug tests

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Russian Ilya Zakharov, who broke China’s diving gold-medal streak on the springboard, has retired due to injury, according to his social media.

Zakharov’s post came on the same day that Russian media reported that he missed three drug tests over a 12-month period, triggering an 18-month suspension.

“I have never used doping… and I will never do it!” was posted on Zakahrova’s Instagram. “Due to injury I had two operations and missed doping tests.”

Zakharov, 28, did not compete at July’s world championships but did win a synchronized springboard title at the Russian Championships in May after having knee surgery earlier this year, according to Russian media. The three missed tests came on October 21, 2018; February 17 and June 11, according to TASS, citing the Russian Diving Federation president.

In the 2012 Olympic springboard final, Zakharov overtook Chinese Qin Kai on the last dive to become the first non-Chinese diver to win an Olympic title on the event (man or woman) since 1992.

Zakharov finished 18th at the Rio Olympics.

He also earned synchro springboard silver in 2012, plus seven world championships medals on the springboard from 2011-17.

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