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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Pylyova Stripped of Silver for Doping

ReutersPylyova with her medal Monday
TURIN, Italy -- The Winter Olympics got its first doping scandal Thursday when Russian biathlete Olga Pylyova was stripped of the silver medal she won three days earlier and kicked out of the games for doping.

In the Italian Alps, Estonian cross-country skier Kristina Smigun won her second gold of the week and Seth Wescott gave the United States its third snowboarding gold in as many events when he won the inaugural snowboardcross.

With Pylyova out of the women's 7.5-kilometer biathlon sprint, Florence Baverel-Robert of France was a surprise winner.

Pylyova, who won silver in the 15-kilometer event Monday, was scratched from the field before the start of the 7.5-kilometer sprint, in which she was considered a leading medal contender. She also won gold and bronze medals at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games.

A hastily convened, three-member IOC panel found Pylyova guilty of a doping violation. She tested positive for the banned stimulant carphedon in a urine test following Monday's race.

A senior judicial source said Turin prosecutors would start an investigation into the case once they had received official notification that a doping violation had been committed.

"Yes, certainly, once the official notification of the offense is received," the senior source said, when asked whether an investigation would get under way on this case. Earlier, the Italian government's top Olympics official, Mario Pescante, said Pylyova would face Italian law if she intentionally took the drugs.

Nikolai Durmanov, head of the Russian Anti-Doping Committee, said a doctor who treated her for an ankle injury in January gave Pylyova an over-the-counter medication that did not list carphedon as one of its ingredients.

"This was 100 percent the physician's mistake," Durmanov said.

Martina Glagow of Germany, who finished third in the 15 kilometers, will be awarded the silver. Albina Akhatova, Pylyova's Russian teammate, goes from fourth to bronze.

"The procedures will go ahead, and whoever has done wrong will pay," said Pescante, who is also an IOC member.

"It's a bad thing that somebody is testing positive, but it's a good thing we got her," World Anti-Doping Agency chief Dick Pound said.

The IOC has conducted 380 tests since the athletes' village opened Jan. 31; Pylyova is the first to be caught by the IOC's most rigorous doping control program ever at a Winter Olympics. A total of 1,200 samples are being tested, a 72 percent increase over the number in Salt Lake City, where there were seven doping cases total.

In Pylyova's absence in the 7.5-kilometer sprint, Baverel-Robert crossed the line first, followed by Anna Carin Oloffson of Sweden and Lilia Yefremova of Ukraine in third.

The race started in heavy snowfall, but the sun was shining and the San Sicario course was slushy by the finish. Olofsson crossed 2.4 seconds behind Baverel-Robert's time of 22 minutes, 31.4 seconds. Yefremova was 6.6 seconds behind the surprise gold medalist.

In the final race of the snowboardcross, Wescott took the lead over silver medalist Radoslav Zidek of Slovakia with a deft passing move in the middle of the course and led the rest of the way, just beating Zidek past the finish line. Paul-Henri Delerue of France took bronze. "I just knew if I was patient and confident that I'd reach the part of the course that I could work a little better, catch the speed on him," a jubilant Wescott said.

Elsewhere, Mario Stecher erased a 20-second gap on the final skiing leg, leading Austria to gold in the Nordic combined team event.

In a thrilling finish, Stecher overtook Jens Gaiser of Germany midway through the last leg of the 4 x 5-kilometer cross country race as Austria won in 49 minutes, 52.6 seconds.

(AP, Reuters)