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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, Aug. 20


AmCham gets back to business after a summer hiatus with todays EHS Committee Working Group Meeting. Check their website for more details.



Thursday, Aug. 21


Time is running out to see the fantastic creations on display at the 2014 Sand Castle Festival on the beach at the Peter and Paul Fortress. Adhering to the theme of Treasure Island, visitors can wander amongst larger-than-life interpretations of pirate life or attend one of the workshops held to educate a future generation of sand artists. The castles will remain on the beach until Aug. 31.



Friday, Aug. 22


Get ready to pledge allegiance to the flag during National Flag Day, paying tribute to when, 23 years ago today, the iconic hammer-and-sickle was replaced with the tricolor that now flutters in the wind. Petersburgers will be treated to a free concert on Palace Square, a military parade and a culminating air show featuring Russias Russian Knights stunt pilots.



Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during todays Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the centers Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonights performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Centers Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodinas website for more details.



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