The almost unprecedented suspension of 7 Russian elite Olympic track athletes of world record caliber has drawn international attention to the Russian doping control...and it looks like Russia, urine trouble. From The Age in Australian:
Russian track and field officials may face sanction and their athletics body deregistered as the International Olympic Committee demands answers about seven of the country's top female athletes who are suspected of manipulating drug samples.
The International Association of Athletics Federations has provisionally suspended the women, six of whom are listed to compete in Beijing, and who include leading 800 and 1500 metres runner Yelena Soboleva and Athens Olympics silver medallist Tatyana Tomashova.
The timing of the announcement by the IAAF, just days after the cut-off time to replace the athletes, and on the eve of the Olympics, has added to the embarrassment of Russian authorities.
The glamour girl of the Russian (and possible entire 2008 Beijing) Olympic effort
is was Soboleva who says she is astonished at the sanctions:
Soboleva told Russian newspaper Sport Express: "I was informed of this today. I totally disagree with this verdict as I have absolutely no reason to consider myself guilty. Naturally I will contest this. I'd like to apologise to the fans that we have ended up in this position, albeit through no guilt of our own."
Apparently there are suspicions of systematic urine testing fraud.
The IAAF said the Russians were under investigation for more than a year and an IOC-accredited laboratory had compared recent urine samples with others given more than 12 months ago using DNA comparisons.
Drug-testers had been suspicious of the urine given by the Russians since 2006 because it regularly appeared too pure...
"To have seven track and field athletes test positive is putting that particular sport at risk," Australian Olympic Committee president and IOC member John Coates said. "Certainly, the executive board will look at it and if it is established that there was some involvement of officials, then that could constitute trafficking under the rules and they could face a life sanction."