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Estonian Olympic Committee says former cross-country champion suspected of doping

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TALLINN, Estonia - Retired Olympic cross-country ski champion Kristina Smigun-Vahi is suspected of doping at the 2006 Winter Games in Turin, the Estonian Olympic Committee said Saturday.

Secretary General Siim Sukles told The Associated Press his organization received an IOC letter in December raising the suspicions. He declined to provide details.

A Russian sports website reported this week that "one or two" Estonian cross-country skiers failed retests on samples from Turin. Sukles said Saturday that only Smigun-Vahi is suspected of doping.

In a statement Friday, Smigun-Vahi confirmed that her sample had come under new suspicion but denied ever using banned substances.

Smigun-Vahi is Estonia's most successful female cross-country skier. She won two gold medals in Turin — in the 10K classical race and the 15K skiathlon.

The International Olympic Committee stores samples for eight years to allow for retesting. The IOC recently retested 350 samples from Turin.

The IOC said it won't release the results until after the Sochi Olympics once "the full doping control process is completed."

Smigun-Vahi said both her samples — the A and B — were under IOC scrutiny.

"All of the samples, every last one, were clean (during testing in 2006)," she said. "They had to be, because I have never used any banned substances. It's unbelievable, but today I've been placed in a situation where I have to fight a new battle."

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