Athens 2004 medallists accused of taking drugs facing IOC hearings next month

Tuesday, 27 November 2012
By Duncan Mackay

Svetlana Krivelyova head and shouldersNovember 27 - The five athletes accused of taking banned performance-enhancing drugs at the Athens Olympics in 2004 are set to have disciplinary hearings next month, where if they are found guilty they could be stripped of their medals.

The athletes, who include the men's shot put champion, Yuriy Bilonoh, from the Ukraine, tested positive after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) retested 110 samples in May having stored them following the Games in the Greek capital eight years ago.

"There will be hearings with the athletes in early December," Arne Ljungqvist, the head of the IOC's Medical Commission, told Associated Press.

"It took a lot of work to find the athletes concerned.

"It's been eight years."

Belarus' Ivan Tsikhan, the silver medallist in the hammer at Athens 2004, had been publicly identified before London 2012 and forced to withdraw.

It has now been officially confirmed by the All Russia Athletics Federation (VFLA) that Svetlana Krivelyova (pictured), the bronze medallist in the women's shot, which was held in Ancient Olympia during Athens 2004, is among those facing disciplinary action.

Svetlana Krivelyova throwing at Olympia Athens 2004Svetlana Krivelyova prepares to throw during the shot put at Ancient Olympia, the venue for the competition during Athens 2004

She had been identified last night by German broadcaster ARD along with Bilonoh and Irina Yatchenko, the discus bronze medallist from Belarus, and Russian weightlifter Oleg Perepetchenov, who won a bronze medal in the -77kg category.

Valentin Balakhnichyov, President of the VLFA, confirmed that Krivelyova was aware that she was under investigation and could lose her medal.

"The IOC has notified the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and the ROC then asked us to get in touch with the athlete," said Balakhnichyov.

The issue is due to be discussed by the IOC at its Executive Board meeting in Lausanne next Tuesday and Wednesday (December 4 and 5).

Krivelyova was awarded the bronze medal in the women's shot put in Athens after her Russian team mate Irina Korzhanenko was stripped of her gold after failing a drugs test for the anabolic steroid Stanozolol.

She does not appear willing to give it up easily.

"I'll just tell them to go to hell If they come and ask for my medal," said Krivelyova, who is now 43 and retired from the sport.

"I've been in the sport for 20 years and I've never done anything against the rules.

"Usually, it was quite the opposite - I was often awarded somebody else medals after they had committed doping violations."

Krivelyova, who won gold at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and the 2003 World Championships in Paris, also claimed the 1999 World Indoor title after initially finishing third.

She was promoted to the gold-medal position when the first two athletes, Ukraine's Vita Pavlysh and Korzhanenko, were disqualified after testing positive for Stanozolol.

Krivelyova also benefited when Pavlysh was stripped of her 2004 World Indoor title after testing positive for Stanozolol for the second time.

The Ukrainian was then banned for life.

"Why they're trying to prove me guilty after all these years," said Krivelyova.

"Why not wait another eight years - maybe by then they could discover something else?

"I'm not going to give my medal back.

"You can count on it.

"Why should I give it to someone who initially finished fifth [in Athens] and, unlike myself, was never tested."

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