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Russian Biathlete Out of Olympics for Doping


It was hazy and mild in Turin, but it was snowing hard up in the mountains as 83 women started the 7.5-kilometer biathlon event. However, an 84th entrant, Olga Pyleva of Russia, was not allowed to compete because of a positive doping test. VOA's Steve Schy has the story from Cesana, San Sicario.

One of the favorites in Thursday's 7.5-kilometer biathlon event, Olga Pyleva of Russia, has been thrown out of the Turin Olympics after becoming the first athlete to fail a drug test. The Russian, who won the women's 15-kilometers Monday, tested positive for a banned stimulant, carphedon, after winning the gold medal.

The head of Russia's anti-doping committee, Nikolai Durmanov, said an over-the-counter medication given to Pyleva by a doctor last month for an ankle injury was responsible for the positive test. An announcement before Thursday's event blamed the 30-year-old Pyleva's absence on illness.

But the sun came out as Florence Baverel-Robert of France skied and shot her way to the gold medal in 22:31.4 Thursday. After the race she was asked about Pyleva's positive test.

"Yes, I did hear about this, but I really don't even really want to think about it too much," she said. "I think I have to live with my own conscience and that is what counts for me. I think it is a great pity that this sort of thing happens because this will not do the sport any good and I am rather disappointed. But that is as far as my thoughts on the matter really go. I don't really want to elaborate on the concept."

Baverel-Robert finished 2.4 seconds ahead of silver-medalist Anna Carin Oloffson of Sweden, while first-time Olympian Lilia Efremova of Ukraine was the surprise bronze medal winner.

"All I can say is that I felt quite tired but I don't have reflections about being involved in a race or in a sprintm," Efremova said. "You don't think when you sprint, you just sprint."

Rachel Steer was the top American biathlete, finishing 1:58.2 behind Florence Baverel-Robert in 35th place.