Winter Olympics
You are in: Other Skiing  
Front Page 
Alpine Skiing 
Other Skiing 
Ice Hockey 
Luge & Skeleton 
BBC Coverage 
Photo Galleries 
Venue Guide 
Event Guide 
Team GB 
Ones to Watch 
Olympic Quiz 

Ace Powder's Mountain Mayhem

BBC Sport

BBC News

BBC Weather

Other Skiing Sunday, 24 February, 2002, 19:06 GMT
Drugs test denies Lazutina gold
Lazutina had been led away in tears earlier in the Olympics
Lazutina was in tears earlier in the Games
Russia's Larissa Lazutina has been stripped of her Olympic gold hours after storming to victory in the women's 30km classical cross-country skiing race.

She was named as one of three cross country skiers who had failed drugs tests just as the news of her win was being toasted by the Russian team.

The Russians say they will file an appeal with the Court of Arbritration for Sport within the next few days.

Had the 30km result stood, Lazutina's victory would have equalled compatriot Ljubov Yegorova's haul of six cross-country golds.

Earlier in the week, Lazutina was barred from the women's relay for failing a blood test.

  • New drug, available since last October
  • Not yet officially listed in Anti-Doping Code but clearly related to EPO
  • Not naturally produced in the body, so urine detection quite effective
  • Estimated to be 10 times more powerful than EPO
  • Stimulates production of oxygen-carrying red blood cells, so enhances performance in endurance sports
  • Potentially harmful as it increases blood viscosity
  • Her disqualification led to Russia's entire team threatening to leave the Olympics.

    That threat was later dropped and the results of Lazutina's urine sample, which had to be matched with the blood test, did confirm her Darbepoetin doping offence after she was allowed to compete in the 30km classical cross-country.

    Lazutina had set the fastest pace from the outset of the 30km race, which had a staggered start.

    She crossed the finish line with her arms aloft in triumph in one hour 29 minutes nine seconds.

    Italy's Gabriella Paruzzi who finished second in 1:30:57, will now be awarded the gold medal.

    Italian team-mate Stefania Belmondo moves up from bronze to silver medal position and Bente Skari of Norway has been placed third.

    Both Lazutina and Spanish cross country skier Johann Muehlegg tested positive for Darbepoetin, a drug not yet officially recognised as illegal, but very similar to banned substance EPO.

    We know that she is innocent and we are prepared to fight this doping conviction in court

    Russian team official Viktor Mamatov on Lazutina's case
    Muehlegg and Lazutina have been ordered by the International Olympic Committee to return their medals, and accompanying Olympic diplomas.

    Another Russian, Olga Danilova, who finished eighth in Lazutina's event, has also been disqualified for the exact same offence.

    Because the athletes failed out-of-competition tests on 21 February, Muehlegg and Lazutina will still retain the medals they won earlier in the Games.

    That means Muehlegg will leave Salt Lake with two of his three golds, and Lazutina with her two silver cross country medals.

    Danilova, who won a gold and silver at the Games, will not lose a medal but will have to hand her diploma back.

    IOC President Jacques Rogge said: "They may technically be champions with those medals, but I question their moral authority, and how they can claim to be Olympic champions in the full sense of the word."

    Italy's silver medallist Stefania Belmondo and gold winner Gabriella Paruzzi
    Italy's Belmondo (left) and Paruzzi stepped up a medal
    Viktor Mamatov, Russia's chef de mission, countered: "We know that she is innocent and we are prepared to fight this doping conviction in court.

    "We all know of the discrimination against the Russian team at these Games as we also know why this is going on.

    "We all have heard rumours how everybody here is fed up with Russians winning in the Olympic Games, so now they are trying to put a stop to it at any cost."

    Darbepoetin, a state-of-the-art drug which scientists estimate could be ten times more powerful than EPO, increases the level of haemoglobin - oxygen-carrying red blood cells - in the body, and so boosts endurance.

    Secondary urine tests confirmed all three athletes had registered well above accepted levels of haemoglobin.

    BBC Sport's Colm Harrison
    "Lazutina still leaves Salt Lake with two silver medals"
    Links to more Other Skiing stories are at the foot of the page.

    Links to more Other Skiing stories

    © BBC ^ Back to top

    Front Page | Statistics

    Alpine Skiing | Other Skiing | Skating | Ice Hockey | Bobsleigh
    Luge & Skeleton | Snowboarding | Curling | Paralympics

    Features | BBC Coverage | Photo Galleries

    Venue Guide | Event Guide | Team GB | Ones to Watch | Olympic Quiz