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Failed Doping Test Forces Top Russian Female Biathlete to Drop Out of Olympics

Published: February 2, 2014 (Issue # 1795)



  • Biathlete Irina Starykh announced she was leaving the Olympic squad after failing a doping test.
    Photo: Biathlon France / Flickr

The leader of the Russian women's biathlon team announced Thursday that she is leaving the Winter Olympic squad after failing a doping test, just one week ahead of the Games starting in the Russian city of Sochi.

In a letter to the Russian Biathlon Union, or RBU, biathlete Irina Starykh said that she was leaving the team indefinitely after she "got into a difficult situation" when informed of the positive test and resulting suspension by the International Biathlon Union.

Ranked sixth in the world, Starykh said in her letter, which was published on the RBU's website, that she was surprised by the news and immediately decided to undergo a second drug test sample, but added that she did not want to "cast a shadow on the team."

Related: Russia's Main Anti-Doping Lab Under Fire Before Sochi

Previous biathletes who's positive doping tests were confirmed by second samples received bans from competition of two years.

The International Biathlon Union also suspended a Lithuanian and Russian Yekaterina Yuriyeva, who was not believed to be slated to compete in the Olympics, The New York Times reported.

Starykh, 26, was Russia's top woman biathlete on a team that won the relay at the World Championships and was looking to recover from previous doping scandals and a period of lackluster performances.

Billionaire, Brooklyn Nets owner and sometimes politician Mikhail Prokhorov took over the leadership of the RBU ahead of the Winter Olympics in Sochi and has reportedly personally invested in a program budget estimated at more than $10 million.

It is unknown if Prokhorov has any previous experience with biathlon, though he now has high hopes for the team and said he would resign if the team did not win at least two golds.





 


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Friday, Oct. 31


Put your grammar and logical thinking to the test in a fun and friendly environment during the British Book Center’s Board Game Evening starting at 5 p.m. today. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.



Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at today’s Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nation’s premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the city’s elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolan’s latest film “Mommy” at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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