Lyu Xiaojun, a two-time Olympic champion weightlifter from China, tested positive for the banned blood booster EPO and has been provisionally suspended until the resolution of his case.
Lyu, a 38-year-old who took gold at the London and Tokyo Games and silver in Rio, tested positive from an Oct. 30 sample, according to the International Testing Agency. Lyu can request a backup B sample be tested.
The lifter said in a statement that he was “greatly shocked” by the positive test, according to Xinhua News Agency.
“In my 24 years of weightlifting career, I have competed in numerous major events and have been tested hundreds of times, without any ADRV (Anti-Doping Rule Violations),” Lyu said, according to Xinhua. “I have neither any motive nor any reason to use any prohibited substance or prohibited method in the final phase of my beloved weightlifting career. I will cooperate with related organizations for investigation, to find out the real cause of this issue, and to prove my innocence.
“As a senior athlete, I have always strictly abided by the anti-doping policies and regulations of the International Weightlifting Federation, the World Anti-Doping Agency and the China Anti-Doping Agency. I believe that the value of sports lies in fair play and I resolutely oppose the use of any prohibited substance or prohibited method and any other kind of cheating, which is also the bottom line I have always set for myself. The use of a prohibited substance or prohibited method is completely against my values and goes against the anti-doping education I have received.”
Lyu took gold at seven of his 10 appearances between the Olympics and world championships from 2009 through 2021 competing at either 77kg or 81kg. He is the world’s most decorated weightlifter across all categories in that time span.
In the outlier years, he earned silver at the 2010 World Championships, was leading the 2015 Worlds after the snatch before failing on all three clean and jerk attempts and took silver at the 2016 Rio Games behind Kazakhstan’s Nijat Rahimov, who this past March had his gold medal stripped for urine swapping. The IOC has not reallocated medals from the 2016 Olympic event, but could still do so.
In Tokyo, he became the oldest Olympic weightlifting champion in history, according to Olympedia.org. American Harrison Maurus took fourth in the event that Lyu won, just missing becoming the first American man to win an Olympic weightlifting medal since 1984.
Lyu did not compete at worlds earlier this month, when countryman Li Dayin won the 81kg title.
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