Russia was stripped of another track-and-field medal from the 2008 Beijing Olympics on Friday after three athletes were retroactively caught in drug tests, the latest blow to a country reeling from scandals over widespread doping.
Russia lost its silver medal in the women’s 4×400 relay after Anastasia Kapachinskaya tested positive for the steroids stanozol and turinabol in a reanalysis of her doping samples, the International Olympic Committee said.
It’s the second 2008 relay medal stripped this week from Russia because of doping. On Tuesday, the IOC took away Russia’s gold in the 4×100 after Yulia Chermoshanskaya tested positive for the same two steroids.
Under international rules, an entire relay team loses its medals if one of the runners tests positive.
With Kapachinskaya’s positive, Jamaica is in line to move up from third to silver and Belarus from fourth to bronze in the 4×400 relay.
Kapachinskaya was also disqualified from her fifth-place finish in the individual 400 meters.
In the two other cases announced Friday, Alexander Pogorelov tested positive for turinabol and was stripped of his fourth-place finish in the decathlon, and Ivan Yushkov had his 10th place result in the shot put annulled after he tested positive for stanozolol, turinabol and oxandrolone.
The three drugs are all traditional steroids that go back decades. Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson tested positive for stanozolol at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, where he was stripped of the gold medal in the 100 meters.
The IOC stores doping samples for 10 years so they can retested when improved methods become available. Using enhanced techniques, the IOC has retested more than 1,000 doping samples from the Beijing Games and 2012 London Olympics to catch cheats who evaded detection at the time. A total of 98 athletes were caught.
For the Beijing and London retests, the IOC used a method that can detect use of steroids going back weeks and months, rather than days.
Friday’s decision was another black eye for Russia, whose track-and-field team was banned from the Rio de Janeiro Olympics over allegations of state-sponsored doping. Investigations are continuing into wider systematic doping in Russia involving dozens of other summer and winter Olympic sports.