Olympic Sports · Rowing · Scandals

O-Minus 30: More Russian Woes

While Russia’s busy appealing the ban on its track and field athletes for Rio 2016 and over 50 of its athletes are applying to be allowed to compete independently, another Russian has been disqualified from the Games in an entirely different sport: Rowing.

Yep, FISA, the World Rowing Federation, has disqualified the Russian men’s quadruple sculls because one of its members, Sergej Fedorovtsev, a gold medalist from Athens 2004 no less, had tested positive for banned substances in both the A and B tests of a sample provided at an out-of-competition drug test. Because his urine didn’t pass, that entire four-man team’s results were nullified, meaning they won’t be competing in Rio in that event.

In a surprise response, Russia said he didn’t dope intentionally (you don’t say), and initially said they’re thinking of bolstering some of their other rowing teams with the other three rowers.

Instead, New Zealand benefits because they placed just after Russia, and they’ll get to go to Rio instead. Of course, they’re not counting their chickens before they hatch, because Russia’s appealing this one as well.

We’d love to hear from some rowers: How long can one remain at the elite levels? Can a gold medalist from 12 years ago still be Olympic caliber today? It could very well be possible–after all, Michael Phelps is swimming in his fifth Olympics. Biathlete Ole Einar Bjorndalen competed in six Olympics and won at least one gold medal in the last five. It’s possible, that’s for sure, but we’d love to hear from you about longevity in this sport. Drop us a line!