MOSCOW, Aug 25 (Reuters) - Russian Olympic cross-country skiing champions Julija Tchepalova and Yevgeny Dementiev have tested positive for the blood-booster EPO, local media, quoting the country’s skiing chief, reported on Tuesday.
Tchepalova and Dementiev failed the test at a World Cup event in Italy in January, the All Sport news agency reported.
“Tchepalova and Dementiev have written to me, saying they plan to retire,” the agency quoted the president of the Russian cross-country skiing federation, Vladimir Loginov, as saying.
“But still, if found guilty they will be suspended.”
Another Russian skier, Nina Rysina, also tested positive for EPO at a World Cup event in France a few weeks later, the agency said. Loginov was not immediately available for comment when contacted by Reuters.
Tchepalova, 32, has been one of the sport’s most decorated and versatile athletes, having won 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. She was also a member of the victorious Russian relay team at the 2006 Olympics in Turin.
Dementiev, 26, won the men’s 30-km pursuit title in Turin. (Reporting by Gennady Fyodorov; Editing by Sonia Oxley) To query or comment on this story email email@example.com)