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Olympic high jump champ among 31 athletes caught by 2008 retesting

The first athlete from the group of 31 Olympians who were caught doping after retests has been revealed. Reigning Olympic high jump champion Anna Chicherova is the first athlete publicly named from the group after doping samples came back positive in retests from the 2008 Beijing Games, the Russian athlete's coach said Tuesday.

Russia's Chicherova among group of Beijing competitors caught

Russian Anna Chicherova, shown in 2013, is one of 31 athletes implicated in the retests from the 2008 Beijing Olympics (Ivan Sekretarev/The Associated Press)

The first athlete from the group of 31 Olympians who were caught doping after retests has been revealed.

Reigning Olympic high jump champion Anna Chicherova is the first athlete publicly named from the group after doping samples came back positive in retests from the 2008 Beijing Games, the Russian athlete's coach said Tuesday.

Coach Yevgeny Zagorulko told Russian state news agency Tass that Chicherova had been notified of the positive sample following the retests by the International Olympic Committee.

"Three days ago, Anna received a notice that her doping sample from the Beijing Olympics tested positive after a re-check and she called me," Zagorulko said. "So far, this is at the development stage and this has not yet been finally confirmed. But all are aware of this and are dealing with the issue."

The IOC said last week that the 31 athletes could be barred from this year's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro after being caught in the reanalysis of Beijing samples. It said the athletes came from six sports and 12 countries, but declined to give names, citing legal reasons.

Tass also quoted an unidentified Russian Olympic Committee source on Tuesday as saying it has been notified that 14 Russian athletes were among those suspected of doping in Beijing, most of them in track and field.

The IOC and track and field's governing body said they could not comment because the investigation was ongoing.

In an unconfirmed report from Tass, the following 13 Russian athletes from the 2008 Olympics have allegedly been implicated as well:

  • Mariya Abakumova (silver in javelin)
  • Anastasiya Kapachinskaya (silver in the 4x400-metre relay)
  • Denis Nizhegorodov (bronze in the 50 km racewalk)
  • Yulia Chermoshanskaya (gold in the 4x100-metre relay)
  • Inga Abitova (10,000-metre race)
  • Denis Alekseyev (bronze in 4x400-metre relay)
  • Yekaterina Volkova (bronze in the 3,000-metre steeplechase)
  • Nadezhda Evstyukhina (bronze in 75 kg weightlifting)
  • Alexander Kornilov (rowing)
  • Aleksander Pogorelov (decathlon)
  • Tatyana Firova (silver in the 4x400-metre relay)
  • Marina Shainova (silver in 56 kg weightlifting)
  • Ivan Yushkov (shot put)

Implications of retests

The IOC has said athletes' "B" samples would be retested in early June. A formal positive case is not declared until the "B" sample confirms the original finding.

Chicherova won the high jump bronze medal in Beijing, clearing a personal best 2.03 meters to finish behind winner Tia Hellebaut of Belgium and Blanka Vlasic of Croatia. Another Russian, Yelena Slesarenko, finished fourth.

If Chicherova is found guilty of doping, she could be stripped of her Beijing medal. The IOC has said that, before reallocating any medals, it would retest samples of any athletes who stand to move up in the medals.

Chicherova won the gold in London, clearing 2.05 meters, ahead of silver medalist Brigetta Barrett of the United States and Svetlana Shkolina of Russia. Chicherova was also world champion in 2011.

The IOC also retested 250 samples from the London Olympics and is still awaiting those results.

The retests targeted athletes who competed in Beijing or London and were hoping to participate in Rio in August.

The IOC stores Olympic doping samples for 10 years to reanalyze them when newer methods become available.

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