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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.





 

ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Sept. 3


Although the Peter and Paul Fortress sand sculptures are more central and therefore more visible to the throngs of tourists, the 300th Anniversary Park of St. Petersburgs own collection closes today. The World Collection of Sand Sculptures that have been on display at the park reaches its final day, so fans of the classic beach activity should get there while they can.



Thursday, Sept. 4


Vladimir I. Danchenkov, Head of Baltic Customs, will be in attendance during AmChams Customs and Transportation Committee Meeting convening this afternoon at the organizations office near St. Isaacs Square at 3 p.m.



Friday, Sept. 5


Scrabble lovers and chess masters get their chance to assert their intellectual dominance at the return of the British Book Centers Board Game Evenings tonight. Held weekly on Friday nights, the event gives both board game lovers and those hoping to improve their English the chance to meet, greet and compete. Check out the centers VK page for more details.



Saturday, Sept. 6


Athletes will relish the chance to get the latest gear and try out something new at I Choose Sport, an annual event at Lenexpo forum that plans to welcome more than 30,000 people this week to the international exhibition center. Not only will visitors get to try their hand at various athletic endeavors but they will also be able to peruse equipment that can fulfill their dreams of becoming a champion.


Local KHL team SKA St. Petersburg open their season this evening at home against Lokomotiv Yarovslavl at the Ice Palace arena next to the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. See their website for a full schedule and available tickets.



Sunday, Sept. 7


Check out retro and antique cars at Fort Konstantin on Kronstadt Island in the Gulf of Finland at FORTuna, a yearly car festival that highlights the eccentricities of the Soviet automobile industry. A car race, contests and a stunt show will give visitors a chance to rev their engines.



Monday, Sept. 8


This evening marks the opening of the two-week ballet festival High Season at the Mikhailovsky Theater. Check the theaters website for more details about performances and featured dancers.



Tuesday, Sept. 9


Discuss the latest news and issues at the AmCham Hazardous Waste Management Roundtable this morning in the Tango Conference Hall of the Sokos Hotel Palace Bridge on Birzhevoy Pereulok. Starting at 9 a.m., planned topics include the Krasny Bor landfill and waste transportation between Russia and Finland.


Learn more about the citys modern architectural trends at the SPIBA Real Estate and Construction Committees meeting on the topic Contemporary Petersburg Style: What is It? Participants will get the chance to discuss whats in-demand with RBI Holdings Irina Petrova and Lubava Pryanikova, and the current state of the local real estate market. Please confirm your attendance by Sept. 5 through SPIBAs website if you wish to attend.



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