Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Sports

More Olympic samples test positive

LONDON — Forty-five more athletes, including 23 medalists from the 2008 Beijing Games, have been caught for doping after retesting of samples from the past two Olympics, the International Olympic Committee said Friday.

The new cases bring to 98 the total number of athletes who have failed tests so far in the re-analysis of their stored samples from Beijing and the 2012 Olympics in London.

Using "the very latest scientific analysis methods," the latest round of retests produced 30 "provisional" positive findings from Beijing and 15 confirmed positives from London, the IOC reported.

No names were given.

The IOC stores doping samples for 10 years so they can be retested when new methods become available, meaning drug cheats who escaped detection at the time can be caught years later.

In a separate announcement, the IOC stripped a Turkish weightlifter of her silver medal from the Beijing Games after her urine sample came back positive for steroids in new testing. The IOC said Sibel Ozkan tested positive for stanozolol and was ordered to return her medal in the 48-kilogram class.

Ozkan is the second athlete disqualified in the retesting program. Last week, Ukrainian weightlifter Yulia Kalina was stripped of her bronze medal from London after her sample came back positive for the steroid turinabol.

Putin's stance: Russian President Vladimir Putin called for a new antidoping commission to be created to shape the country's future strategy as it faces possible exclusion from the Olympics.

Putin's intervention came as former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev wrote to IOC president Thomas Bach to oppose a blanket ban on the Russian team, saying that a collective sanction was "unacceptable."

Putin did not directly address allegations that Russian government officials helped to cover up hundreds of doping cases, but he said the state was resolutely opposed to performance-enhancing drug use.

He said there was a need to "cooperate closely" on doping with the IOC and the World Anti-Doping Agency, the latter of which welcomed Thursday's court ruling to uphold a ban on Russia's scandal-hit track and field team.

Russian Paralympic team in trouble, too: Russians hoping to compete in this summer's Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, got some bad news when officials moved to ban the country from the Games amid Russia's doping crisis. The news came a day after the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld the Rio Olympics ban on Russia's track and field teams in connection to a multiyear, systematic doping program known by the government.

"This decision was not taken lightly," International Paralympic Committee president Sir Philip Craven said in a statement.

The call to suspend Russian athletes comes after a report conducted by Canadian law professor Richard McLaren uncovered 35 "disappearing positive samples" from the same Russian lab accused of operating the systematic, state-sponsored doping program that led to Russia's suspension from track events at the Olympics. The IPC said it plans to conduct further analysis on 19 samples from the 2014 Paralympics in Sochi that were identified in the McLaren report as possibly having been swapped out for clean samples.

When those results come in, the IPC said it will make its decision.

WORLD RECORD: Keni Harrison, who is not going to the Olympics after failing to make it out of the U.S. trials, broke a 28-year-old world record in the 100-meter hurdles at a Diamond League meet in London. Harrison finished in 12.20 seconds to break the mark of 12.21 set by Bulgarian Yordanka Donkova in August 1988, five years before the 23-year-old American was born. Usain Bolt, in his first 200-meter race of the season, won in 19.89 seconds, showing he hasn't been slowed by a hamstring injury which forced him to withdraw from Jamaica's Olympic trials; the six-time gold medalist was still granted a spot on the team in Rio.

Kenya: President Uhuru Kenyatta urged his country's Olympic athletes to "show the world that we are clean and can win clean" as he gave them a send-off for the Rio Games. Kenyatta made a number of references to doping in his address to the athletes, with Kenya's distance-running reputation undermined by a series of drug scandals in recent years.

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