Belarusian loses gold for doping

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LONDON -- Just hours after the close of the Olympics, a female shot putter from Belarus was stripped of her gold Monday in the first case of an athlete losing a medal for doping at the London Games.

With the disqualification of Nadzeya Ostapchuk, the gold medal was awarded to Valerie Adams of New Zealand -- who winds up as Olympic champion for the second time in a row.

The International Olympic Committee said Ostapchuk, a former world champion, tested positive for steroids both before and after winning the shot put last week for her first Olympic gold.

After an IOC hearing, she was formally expelled from the Games and had her victory and medal removed from the records. She was the eighth athlete, and first medalist, caught during the IOC's London drug-testing program.

"Catching cheats like this sends a message to all those who dope that we will catch them," IOC spokesman Mark Adams told The Associated Press.

Track and field's governing body, the IAAF, will consider further action against Ostapchuk, who could face a two-year ban from the sport.

Adams was bumped up from Olympic silver to gold, with Evgeniia Kolodko of Russia earning silver and fourth-place Gong Lijiao of China moving up to bronze.

Adams now has a second gold to go with her victory in Beijing.

"It is taking me some time to take this in," she told New Zealand's national broadcaster TVNZ. "It is huge and I am absolutely thrilled of course ... It is also encouraging for those athletes, like myself who are proud to compete cleanly, that the system works and doping cheats are caught."

The IOC took more than 5,000 urine and blood samples in London, including no-notice controls conducted outside competition. Until the shot put case, the Games were set to end with medal standings in all 302 events unaltered by doping scandals.

Ostapchuk, 31, world champion in 2005, recorded the biggest shot put mark in a decade in the lead up to the Olympics. She won the gold with 21.36 meters.

The IOC said she tested positive for the steroid metenolone on Aug. 5, a day before her competition, and immediately after she won the event. The "A" and the backup "B" samples from both tests came back positive.

Ostapchuk told media in Belarus that she had done nothing wrong. The Belarus Olympic Committee and anti-doping agency will investigate and "take the appropriate measures," the IOC said.

olympics


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