Blonska stripped of silver after positive drugs test

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The Independent Online

Lyudmila Blonska was stripped of her Olympic heptathlon silver medal yesterday, the highest profile athlete kicked out of the Games so far for doping. The International Olympic Committee said Blonska tested positive for the steroid methyltestosterone after finishing second in the heptathlon final last Saturday behind fellow Ukrainian Nataliia Dobrynska.

She was temporarily suspended by the IOC on Thursday and her medal was officially removed yesterday by the IOC executive board. Blonska, who blamed her coach and husband for the positive test, was also dropped from the long jump final after finishing third in qualifying earlier in the week.

The IOC asked the International Association of Athletics Federations to adjust the heptathlon results and consider further sanctions against Blonska. The Ukrainian Olympic committee was ordered to return Blonska's medal "as soon as possible." The American Hyleas Fountain should take the silver, with Russia's Tatiana Chernova moving from fourth to bronze.

The IOC also reserved the right to take sanctions against Blonska's coach and husband, Sergei Blonsky. The 30-year-old Blonska faces a lifetime ban from the IAAF for a second doping offence. She was suspended from 2003 to 2005 for use of the steroid stanozolol.

The IOC said she expressed "shock" at the results and could not understand how the banned substance wound up in her system. She apologised at a disciplinary hearing and said she felt "ashamed".

Blonska is the biggest name among the five athletes who have tested positive so far at the Games, and second to be stripped of a medal. Previously disqualified were the Greek hurdler Fani Halkia, North Korean shooter Kim Jong Su, Spanish cyclist Isabel Moreno and Vietnamese gymnast Thi Ngan Thuong Do. Kim was stripped of silver and bronze medals. The IOC had carried out more than 4,600 doping tests by yesterday.