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Russian Lawmaker Stripped Of Two Olympic Medals After Drug Retests

Tatyana Lebedeva retired from competition in 2013 and became a Russian lawmaker a year later.
Tatyana Lebedeva retired from competition in 2013 and became a Russian lawmaker a year later.

A Russian lawmaker who has been a vocal defender of the country's scandal-plagued state sports system was stripped of two Olympic medals on January 25 after a doping test.

Tatyana Lebedeva won silver in the long jump and triple jump at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. But the International Olympic Committee recalled those medals after Lebedeva tested positive for the steroid turinabol in a reanalysis of samples taken at the time.

Lebedeva, 40, who also won the gold medal in the long jump at the 2004 Athens Olympics and still has two other Olympic medals from Sydney and Athens, retired from competition in 2013 and became a member of the Russian parliament's upper house in 2014.

She has criticized the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), calling it a tool of "the Anglo-Saxon lobby."

A WADA-commissioned report into Russian track and field alleged widespread drug use and extortion in 2015, leading to the national team being banned from international competition. Based on a growing body of evidence uncovered by the agency, more than 100 Russian athletes were banned from the Rio Olympics last year.

After being stripped of her medals on January 25, Lebedeva resigned her seat on the executive committee of the World Olympians Association and said her lawyers are working on an appeal of the decision.

She told Russian state news agency TASS that she "will always fight to the end."

"I can say for sure that I never intended to dope and I do not consider myself being guilty of cheating," Lebedeva told the Russian newspaper Sport Express. "Of course, nobody [is immune to] accidental mistakes. But even if I made a mistake, it should be proved in court."

After quitting sports, Lebedeva became sports minister in the southern Volgograd region and then a member of the upper parliament house, the Federation Council, where she has been broadly supportive of the Kremlin.

She is one of several sports stars in Russia's parliament. The lower house includes former top-ranked tennis player Marat Safin and a number of Olympic gold medalists.

With reporting by AP, AFP, and TASS
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