26 Aug 2009

Russian skiiers test positive for blood booster

8:18 am on 26 August 2009

The Russian Olympic cross-country skiing champions Julija Tchepalova and Yevgeny Dementiev have tested positive for the blood-booster EPO.

Tchepalova and Dementiev failed the test at a World Cup event in Italy in January, the All Sport news agency reported.

The president of the Russian cross-country skiing federation says the pair plan on retiring but, if found guilty they will still be suspended.

Tchepalova, 32, has been one of the sport's most decorated athletes, winning an Olympic gold medal in three successive Winter Games as well as a host of world championship medals over the past decade.

She captured her first Olympic title in the 30-km freestyle race -- the longest cross-country event for women -- at the 1998 Nagano Games, then added a second in the 1.5-km sprint in Salt Lake City four years later.

Dementiev, 26, won the men's 30-km pursuit title in Turin.