Russian National Champion Recives Two Year Suspension
The troubles affecting the Russian National Cross-Country ski team seem to know no end. The latest incident involved twice Russian champion Liliya Stepanova who has just received a two-year ban for manipulating a drug test, in another stunning announcement from their cross-country ski federation last week.
Just one day prior to this announcement Russian President Medvedev, addressing the Russian Federation’s sports chiefs said, “ You must work 24 hours a day….we must get rid of this image, which our country seems to have picked up…and we need to evaluate the situation and take all necessary measures, including the adoption of new laws,” in his televised address.
Reuters has reported that Russian chief coach Yuri Charkovsky said the 25 year-old attempted to circumvent the rules by asking another skier to submit samples on her behalf, following Stepanova’s two gold medals at the recent national championships in the northern town of Syktyvkar, Russia.
Charkovsky, commenting on the incident said…”we were all quite surprised when she won two gold and we became suspicious and found out it was another athlete who pretended to be Stepanova and tried to submit urine samples on her behalf. The executive committee then disqualified the athlete and banned her for two years. Next month we will make a ruling about the coach and his role in the whole incident.”
Several top ranked Russian skiers including three-time Olympic champion Julija Tchepalova and Olympic gold medalist from 2006, Yevgeny Dementiev, have also tested positive this year for the use of EPO.
By: Peter Q. Graves