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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Denisova Faces 2-Year Ban for Doping

LONDON -- Russian runner Lyubov Denisova, a two-time Los Angeles Marathon winner and runner-up in Boston and New York City, failed an out-of-competition doping test and faces a two-year ban.

Denisova, who won the Honolulu Marathon in December and finished seventh in Boston last month, tested positive for an elevated testerone-to-epitestosterone ratio on March 20 at her home in Gainesville, Florida.

"The Russian federation called to let us know she tested positive," Denisova's agent, Andreas Baranov, said Wednesday in a telephone interview.

He added that the backup "B" sample also tested positive.

Denisova, 35, moved to Florida from Moscow in January and apparently made a mistake while buying vitamins on the Internet with her new computer early this year, Baranov said. Along with the vitamins, she also bought Orasten-E, which is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

"Denisova has very limited English," Baranov said. "She was only looking for the best price [for complex vitamins].

"She told me she started taking [the banned drug] in February. I can't say how many weeks she was taking it," Baranov added. "It was a huge surprise."

Denisova acknowledges that she made a mistake.

"She understands she's responsible for what she puts in her body," Baranov said.

The positive test will almost definitely keep Denisova from competing in next year's Olympic marathon in Beijing. The Russian Athletics Federation is expected to decide on a suspension after it gets the details of the positive tests from the International Association of Athletics Federations.

Positive testosterone tests normally carry a two-year suspension. Under World Anti-Doping Agency rules, athletes can face reduced penalties if they can prove they were not at fault for the violation.

"All her training this year ... was to prepare for the Olympic Games in 2008. This was a two-year plan she had," said Baranov, who added that he was unsure whether Denisova would continue to compete after serving a suspension.

The runner's results after the date of the positive test -- including the Boston Marathon finish -- will be wiped out, but her Honolulu Marathon title and bonus for setting a course record on Dec. 9 will stand.

Denisova won the Los Angeles Marathon in 2002 and 2005. She finished second at the 2003 Boston Marathon and was also runner-up in New York a year earlier.

Jim Barahal, the president of the Honolulu Marathon Association, said he was upset to hear that last year's champion had tested positive.

"We can't go back in time and take back the money and the title, but it's a reasonable conclusion that if she was cheating in February and March, it's likely that she was under the influence in December," Barahal said. "I can't prove it, unfortunately."

Barahal said the race would test the top three men and women after this year's race, in addition to random tests of other racers.