Tuesday, June 4, 2002 - Latest News
Lazutina, Muehlegg and Danilova Given 2 Year Bans

Larissa Lazutina, who was stripped of her 30km Olympic gold medal testing positive for darbepoietin, was suspended for two years Monday by the International Ski Federation (FIS). The suspension is also expected to cost Lazutina her two other medals from Salt Lake City, which will move Canadian Beckie Scott up to the silver medal position in the Olympic pursuit.

The FIS decision is valid as of Dec. 8, when Lazutina, tested positive for the same drug as at the Olympics. She also tested positive on December 22. Lazutina is one of the most decorated athletes in Winter Olympics history, but all of that will be forgotten as scandal clouds all of her previous achievments.

Lazutina was allowed to keep two silver medals from the Olympics because she had won them prior to testing positive, and she had reportedly past doping controls after those events. However, FIS later learned of her previous positive test in December.

"Therefore, FIS has decided to disqualify Lazutina for two years, as of Dec. 8, from all competitions," said Janez Kocijancic, a Slovene member of the FIS.

FIS will inform the International Olympic Committee about its ruling, and IOC president Jacques Rogge said last month that the body would strip Lazutina's medals once FIS announced any sanctions.

Lazutina's teammate, Olga Danilova, and Johann Muehlegg of Spain have also been given 2 year bans from skiing by the FIS.

Muehlegg and Danilova will keep the Olympic medals they won at the Olympic games prior to being caught for the use of darbepoietin pending further action being undertaken by the Norwegian and Canadian Ski Associations. Muehlegg currently keeps 2 gold medals, Danilova one gold and a silver. If Danilova and Muehlegg lose their Olympic medals later this summer, Beckie Scott would be rightfully awarded the pursuit gold medal.

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