Johnson, Jones highlight most infamous Olympic doping cases
BEIJING (AP) — Russian star Kamila Valieva is at the center of the biggest doping story of the Beijing Games after Russian newspaper RBC reported that the figure skater tested positive for a banned substance before the Olympics.
Russian athletes are competing as ROC, short for Russian Olympic Committee, at the Beijing Olympics because the country was banned for operating a state-sponsored doping scheme at the 2014 Sochi Games.
If Valieva ends up being punished, she’d be one of the most famous Olympic athletes ensnared in a doping scandal. Here are some others:
BEN JOHNSON (1988)
Probably the most infamous drug scandal in Olympic history involved Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson, marring one of the signature events of the Summer Games — the 100-meter dash. Johnson appeared to have won the race at the Seoul Games in world record time, but he tested positive for an anabolic steroid and had his gold medal taken away. It went to American rival Carl Lewis instead.
Juan Antonio Samaranch, the president of the International Olympic Committee at the time, said that penalties against Johnson and others were an indication that “we have won the battle against doping.”
MARION JONES (2000)
One of the biggest American stars of the Sydney Games, Marion Jones won three gold medals and two bronzes. In 2007, she admitted lying to federal agents about her use of performance-enhancing drugs. She spent six months in jail and the IOC stripped her of all five medals.
JOHANN MUEHLEGG (2002)
A triple gold medalist at the Salt Lake City Games, Spanish cross-country skier Johann Muehlegg lost all three of them after testing positive for darbepoetin, which enhances endurance by stimulating the production of oxygen-carrying red blood cells.
HANS-GUNNAR LILJENWALL (1968)
Doping control began at the Mexico City Olympics, and Liljenwall’s problem sounds quaint compared to modern violations. The modern pentathlete from Sweden lost a bronze medal for alcohol after drinking beer to calm his nerves before the shooting competition.
LANCE ARMSTRONG (2000)
Lance Armstrong’s bronze medal at the Sydney Games wasn’t a huge part of his legacy, given all his Tour de France victories, but returning that medal was part of the fallout from his performance-enhancing drug use. The IOC vacated the medal he won in the road time trial.
ANDREEA RADUCAN (2000)
Also in Sydney, Andreea Raducan was the women’s all-around gymnastics champion when the Romanian star tested positive for pseudoephedrine, which was contained in a cold remedy she got from the team doctor.
“I feel a great deal of sympathy for her because she has to suffer from a mistake by her team doctor,” IOC President Thomas Bach said more than a decade later. “Even more so because this happened at the age of 16, when as an athlete you have absolute confidence in your medical team.”
NICKLAS BACKSTROM (2014)
Swedish hockey star and longtime Washington Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom also tested positive for pseudoephedrine and had to miss the Olympic final in Sochi. Sweden lost to Canada.
Backstrom, who did receive his silver medal, eventually reached a settlement, dropping his appeal against the IOC ruling that he committed a doping violation. He received a reprimand and was cleared of any intention to cheat. He said the stimulant was contained in a sinus medication he had been taking for allergies.
ROSS REBAGLIATI (1998)
When snowboarding debuted at the Olympics in Nagano, Ross Rebagliati had a win in the giant slalom taken away because he tested positive — for marijuana. The victory was reinstated because the sport’s governing body did not have a rule banning the substance.
THERESE JOHAUG (2018)
Johaug missed the Pyeongchang Games four years ago after testing positive for a banned substance and receiving an 18-month suspension. She blamed a team doctor who mistakenly gave her lip balm that contained the substance.
Johaug is back at this year’s Olympics, and the Norwegian has already won two gold medals in cross-country skiing.
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