Russia was stripped of a relay gold medal from the 2008 Beijing Olympics on Tuesday night, after one of its female runners tested positive for steroids in a reanalysis of her doping samples.
Sprinter Yulia Chermoshanskaya tested positive for two drugs — stanozolol and turinabol — and has been retroactively disqualified and, along with her teammates, stripped of the gold medal in the women’s 4×100-meter relay, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said.
Chermoshanskaya was also disqualified from the 200 meters, in which she finished eighth.
Belgium stands to be upgraded to the relay gold, with Nigeria moving up to silver and Brazil to bronze.
The IOC asked the IAAF to modify the results and consider any further sanctions against Chermoshanskaya, who is no longer competing.
The three other Russians runners in the relay final were Yulia Gushchina, Alexandra Fedoriva and Evgeniya Polyakova. Under IAAF rules, an entire relay team loses its medals if one of the runners tests positive.
The Belgian runners in line to get gold are Olivia Borlee, Hanna Marien, Elodie Ouedraogo and Kim Gevaert.
The United States did not make the relay final after dropping the baton in the heats. The Jamaican and British teams dropped the baton in the final.
The IOC said Chermoshanskaya claimed in a written statement that she had been injured ahead of the Beijing Games and had been receiving injections on medical advice. The IOC said she should have declared those medications at the time.
Turinabol and stanozolol are traditional steroids that go back decades. Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson tested positive for stanozolol at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, and he was stripped of the gold medal in the 100 meters.
Tuesday’s decision was another black eye for Russia. The country’s 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.
Using enhanced techniques, the IOC has retested more than 1,000 doping samples from the 2008 Beijing Games and 2012 London Olympics to catch those who evaded detection at the time. A total of 98 athletes have been caught.
The IOC stores doping samples for 10 years to allow them to be reanalyzed when improved tests become available, which means cheats can be caught years later. 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.
Chermoshanskaya is the seventh athlete so far who has been formally disqualified by the IOC as a result of the Beijing and London retesting program. Ukrainian javelin thrower Oleksandr Pyatnytsya was stripped of her silver medal from London after she tested positive for turinabol.