Russia’s Olympic Committee (ROC) said Tuesday that 14 of its athletes in the 2008 Beijing Olympics had been found positive for doping in new tests of their samples given during the Games.
“Fourteen Russian athletes in three disciplines gave a positive result,” the ROC said in a statement, a week after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that 31 athletes from 12 countries had failed doping tests after new analysis of samples taken from the Beijing Games.
ROC said that the names of the athletes, according to the disciplinary rules, would not be made public until a second set of control samples had also been tested.
Russia’s Match TV channel reported the names of the athletes as including 10 Olympic medallists. One, Yulia Chermoshanskaya, won gold as part of the 4x100 metre relay team, while four won silver.
Belgian sprinter Kim Gevaert, part of the Belgian squad that claimed silver behind the Russians in the relay, said:
“At the time, we already had some doubts about this girl (Chermoshanskaya) who we didn’t know and who we didn’t hear of afterwards. It was a bit strange.”
Among those also listed was bronze medallist high jumper Anna Chicherova, who is likely to compete in the Rio Olympics in August if Russia takes part.
Chicherova told Match TV: “I can’t explain how the sample tested positive,” adding she had taken hundreds of doping tests over that period.
Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko told R-Sport news agency that the names of the athletes should not have been released because a second control sample still needs to be tested.
“It’s a sensitive topic, why someone does this, I don’t know,” Mutko said, while not denying the leaked list was genuine.
“It’s wrong to name names if a person could be found not guilty,” he said.
The president of Russia’s athletics federation, Dmitry Shlyakhtin, told Interfax news agency that “we also do not have official information” on the names of the athletes.
The head of the ROC’s legal department, Anna Brilliantova, was quoted on its website as saying that the second “B” samples of all the athletes under suspicion will be checked in Switzerland on May 31 and June 1.