Russian sculls team banned from Rio Olympics for doping

Teams from New Zealand, France, Ukraine and Russia during the men's quadruple sculls final at the 2012 London Olympics. 

DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/Getty Images

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — The Russian men’s quadruple sculls team has been disqualified from the Rio de Janeiro Olympics for a doping violation, and will be replaced at the games by New Zealand, world rowing’s ruling body announced Thursday.

The World Rowing Federation says that trimetazidine, a banned substance, was found in a urine sample given by rower Sergei Fedorovtsev in an out-of-competition test on May 17.

He competed a week later at the final Olympic qualifying regatta in Switzerland, where Russia finished first to qualify for Rio.

As Fedorovtsev, who won a gold medal in quadruple sculls at the 2004 Athens Olympics, had provided a positive doping test, the federation said that "the results of all competitions in which the rower participated after 17 May 2016 are therefore automatically disqualified."

New Zealand, which finished third behind Russia and Canada in the qualifying event, will replace the Russian crew in Rio. Canada also qualified by finishing second, joining the top eight crews who secured their Olympic places at the 2015 world championships, held in France.

The disqualification of the rowers is just the latest doping scandal involving Russia ahead of Rio.

Russia’s track and field athletes have already be banned from competing for their country for a systematic doping system that operated "from the top down" and tainted the entire team.

The IAAF, track’s world governing body, upheld a ban on Russia’s track and field federation, but left open a "tiny crack" that would allow any individual Russian athletes who have been untainted by doping and have been subjected to effective testing outside Russia to apply to compete in the games.

Russia, along with Kazakhstan and Belarus, also faces a possible one-year suspension from international weightlifting competition following the retesting of samples from the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

The International Weightlifting Federation said the final decisions on whether the countries will be allowed to compete at Rio will be made after the International Olympic Committee makes a definitive ruling on the retests.

Russia is one of six countries that already have had some of their quota places for Rio withdrawn by the IWF.

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