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World Sport

Shot put winner stripped of gold


SPECIAL REPORT
• Olympics 2004: Special report 

ATHENS, Greece -- The winner of Wednesday's women's shot put has been stripped of her gold medal after failing a drugs test, the International Olympic Committee said on Monday.

Russia's Irina Korzhanenko tested positive for the banned steroid stanozolol after the event, a result confirmed by a secondary sample.

The gold medal will instead go to Cuba's Yumileidi Cumba Jay, with Nadine Kleinert of Germany moving up to silver and Russian Svetlana Krivelyova taking the bronze.

One of the set piece events of the Athens Games, the shot put competitions were held at Olympia, the site of the ancient Olympics.

Korzhanenko dominated the competition winning by the biggest margin ever in the event at the Olympics with a best throw of 21.06 meters. None of her rivals were able to go beyond 20 meters.

"I kept thinking before this competition that the silver was the best I could hope for so I think the Greek gods helped me win this gold medal as conditions were far from ideal," she said at the time.

The IOC's executive board expelled Korzhanenko from the Games and ordered Russia's Olympic committee to return the medal.

"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," said Russian anti-doping chief Nikolai Durmanov.

The 30-year-old, who served a two-year doping ban following the 1999 world championships, is the first athlete to lose an Olympic title because of a failed drugs test since Ben Johnson was disqualified after winning the 100 meters in Seoul in 1988.

She now faces a possible lifetime ban, under World Anti-Doping Agency regulations.

Korzhanenko's disqualification is the second major doping case to involve the Russian team following women's superheavyweight weightlifting medal hope Albina Khomich's exclusion from the Games on Saturday.

On Sunday Durmanov said his organization had failed in its efforts to clean up Russian sport.

"We are very disappointed," said Durmanov. "We have concentrated very much on doping ... We must have zero tolerance. But we haven't managed it."


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