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Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Belarus gold-winner stripped of medal

Posted: 08/14/2012 1:00 AM | Comments: 0

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LONDON -- Just hours after the close of the Olympics, a female shot putter from Belarus was stripped of her gold Monday in the first case of an athlete losing a medal for doping at the London Games.

With the disqualification of Nadzeya Ostapchuk, the gold medal was awarded to Valerie Adams of New Zealand -- who winds up as Olympic champion for the second time in a row.

The International Olympic Committee said Ostapchuk, a former world champion, tested positive for steroids both before and after winning the shot put last week for her first Olympic gold.

After an IOC hearing, she was formally expelled from the Games and had her victory and medal removed from the records. She was the eighth athlete, and first medallist, caught during the IOC's London drug-testing program.

"Catching cheats like this sends a message to all those who dope that we will catch them," IOC spokesman Mark Adams told The Associated Press.

Track and field's governing body, the IAAF, will consider further action against Ostapchuk, who could face a two-year ban from the sport.

Adams was bumped up from Olympic silver to gold, with Evgeniia Kolodko of Russia upgraded to silver and fourth-place finisher Gong Lijiao of China moving up to bronze.

"I am speechless with this news," she told New Zealand's national broadcaster TVNZ from her base in Switzerland. "It is taking me some time to take this in. It is huge and I am absolutely thrilled of course."

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 14, 2012 C4

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