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Friday, March 1, 2002
 
IOC investigating, disqualifications could follow

Associated Press


LAUSANNE, Switzerland -- The International Olympic Committee is investigating two more positive drug tests from the Salt Lake City Games.

One case involves the steroid nandrolone, and the other involves the stimulant methamphetamine, the IOC said Friday. It didn't identify the athletes or sports involved pending a hearing.

If the tests are confirmed as doping violations, the IOC executive board would disqualify the athletes and strip them of any medals.

Meanwhile, the International Ski Federation confirmed positive B drug test samples from Russian cross-country skiers Larissa Lazutina and Olga Danilova

Lazutina and Danilova both tested positive at the Salt Lake City Olympics for darbepoetin, which boosts production of oxygen-rich red blood cells.

The two skiers were suspended from competing until sanctioned by the International Skiing Federation. The normal ban for drugging offenses is two years.

Lazutina, 36, was forced to give up her victory in the 30-kilometer classical race and her record-tying 10th Olympic medal. She was allowed to keep the two silver medals she won in the 15K freestyle and the 10K combined event.

Danilova was disqualified from an eighth-place finish for the same reason, though she will keep gold and silver medals she won earlier.

Spain's Johann Muehlegg was also stripped of his gold in the 50-kilometer race for testing positive for darbepoetin, sold commercially as Nesp.

IOC medical director Patrick Schamasch said hearings likely would be held early in the week beginning March 11.

Usually, the IOC deals with positive tests at the Olympics within 36 hours. But since the tests came late in the games and Olympic officials have gone home, the process will take longer.

A similar situation occurred after the 2000 Sydney Olympics. German freestyle wrestler Alexander Leipold was stripped of his gold medal in the 167½-pound class and the medal was awarded to the losing finalist, Brandon Slay of the United States.

In addition, the IOC launched an investigation Thursday after blood-transfusion equipment was found in a house used by Austrian cross-country skiers at the games.

The Austrian ski federation claimed Friday the equipment was used for legal medical purposes, an explanation rejected by the IOC.

The IOC said all samples from Salt Lake had now been analyzed and accounted for. A total of 1,960 tests -- 642 in-competition urine tests, 96 out-of-competition urine controls and 1,222 blood screening tests -- were conducted during the games.

The IOC said the figure represents a threefold increase over the 621 tests conducted at the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano, Japan.