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Top Russian biathlete tests positive, leaves national team

Jan 30, 2014, 9:34 AM EST

Irina Starykh Getty Images

Irina Starykh, the sixth-ranked women’s biathlete in the world this season, will likely not be representing Russia at the Sochi Olympics after saying she was told she failed a drug test Thursday.

“I have received a notification from the IBU [International Biathlon Union] in which it is stated that one of my tests gave a positive result,” Starykh wrote in a letter to the Russian Biathlon Union, which was translated by R-Sport. “This news was a major unexpected event for me. Believe me that I respectfully regret that this story is linked with my name. … I do not have the right or the desire to let down the girls and the whole team.”

Starykh, 26, did not admit to taking a banned substance in the Russian Biathlon Union article and said she wanted her “B” sample tested, according to the letter.

The news came one day after the International Biathlon Union said two Russian biathletes and one Lithuanian biathlete had tested positive but did not name the athletes or the substances.

Starykh had never finished better than 21st in a World Cup event before making two podiums over 13 races this season. She was the top-ranked Russian woman this season and seen as a medal threat in Sochi.

The last time a Winter Olympic medal was stripped came via a female Russian biathlete. In 2006, Russian Olga Pyleva lost a silver medal after testing positive for a banned stimulant.

The world’s best men’s biathlete and the top American chimed in on Twitter on Wednesday, before Starykh was confirmed to have tested positive.

Amazing race to catch most decorated Winter Olympian ever

  1. doctorrustbelt - Jan 31, 2014 at 10:44 AM

    Uh-Oh!!!
    Here we go again, Russia.

    SEE: larisa lazutina
    SEE: olga danilova
    SEE: albina akhatova
    SEE: yevgeny dementyev
    SEE: ekaterina iouireva
    SEE: natalya matveyeva
    SEE: lyubov yegorova
    SEE: dmitry yaroshenko
    SEE: sergey shiryayev
    SEE: olga medvedtseva
    SEE: irina khazova

    ETC.

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