Russia's Irina Korzhanenko was stripped of her shot put gold medal Monday, the first athlete of the Athens Games to lose an Olympic title because of
Korzhanenko tested positive for the steroid stanozolol after Wednesday's competition, where she became the first woman to win a gold medal at the
sacred site of Ancient Olympia. The backup B sample confirmed the initial finding.
The International Olympic Committee executive board expelled Korzhanenko from the games and ordered the Russian Olympic Committee to return the
The gold goes to Cuba's Yumileidi Cumba Jay. Germany's Nadine Kleinert would move up to silver, and Russia's Svetlana Krivelyova to bronze.
"I am surprised because we did everything to avoid such circumstances. We didn't want to repeat Salt Lake City," said Nikolai Durmanov, head of the
Russian Anti-Doping Agency, referring to the 2002 Winter Olympics scandals, when Russian cross-country skiers Larissa Lazutina and Olga Danilova were
stripped of gold medals after testing positive for the performance enhancing substance darbepoetin.
Korzhanenko, who served a previous two-year drug suspension, faces a lifetime ban from the sport. In 1999, she was stripped of the silver medal at the
world indoor championships for a doping violation and was given a two-year suspension that kept her out of the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Under international rules, two steroid violations warrants a lifetime ban.
The IOC decision came a day after Greek weightlifter Leonidas Sampanis became the first athlete of the Athens Games to be stripped of a medal for a
doping offense. Sampanis lost his bronze medal in the 62-kg category after testing positive for testosterone.
The shot put was held at Ancient Olympia, about 200 miles southwest of Athens, two days before the start of track and field in Olympic Stadium. It was
the first time women have competed at the site; the ancient Olympics were for men only.
"Rules are for everyone," said Seraphim Kotrotsos, an Athens 2004 spokesman, when about the case. "It's a symbolic message from Ancient Olympia."
Korzhanenko won with a throw of 21.06 meters - the first throw more than 21 meters in four years. A member of the Russian Army Club from Azov in the
Rostov region and a member of the Russian national team since 1994, Korzhanenko won the world indoor title in 2003 in Birmingham, England.
"Irina is in the Olympic Village, and she is totally dismayed, and of course she is not in a vacuum. We are talking to her trying to find the reasons
why it all happened," Durmanov said.
Another female shot putter, Uzbekistan's Olga Shchukina, tested positive in a pre-Athens screening for the steroid clenbuterol. She finished 19th and
last in her qualifying group and was expelled from the games Friday.
So far, nine weightlifters have failed drug tests, including another Russian, Albina Khomich. A Kenyan boxer was also sent home after a positive test.
With a week left in the games, including track and field events, more positives are widely expected.
"The testing is more extensive and more comprehensive, so you'd expect we would catch more athletes that are cheating," Dick Pound, the World
Anti-Doping Agency chief, told The Associated Press Sunday. "It increases the confidence in the authenticity of the competition if we are taking
people out who cheated."