Uzbekistan’s Luiza Galulina, who tested positive for a banned substance during the London Olympics, has been suspended from international competition for two years, the International Gymnastics Federation announced Tuesday.
Though Uzbekistan does have a national team (and a fairly impressive one at that) Galulina was the sole Uzbek gymnast to qualify for the London Games. The suspension has been made retroactive to August 1, 2012, the date the test was confirmed, meaning that Galulina will be eligible to compete again as of August 1, 2014.
Galulina tested positive for furosemide, a diuretic that aids in weight loss, during training in London. She was initially expelled from the Olympics by the International Olympic Committee and later given a six-month suspension by the FIG.
But the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which is apparently cracking down, called for the suspension to be increased to two years. Galulina appealed her case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which took the side of the World Anti-Doping Agency and confirmed the two-year suspension.
Interestingly, the FIG argued against the lengthy suspension, contending that missing out on the Olympics (and being expelled from the Games, no less) was punishment enough. The court, however, upheld the WADA suspension.
Although two years (well, one year and change from now) is rough, it may not spell the end of Galiulina’s career. The Uzbeks have a team full of “second wind” gymnasts, including 2006 Junior European Champion Daria Elizarova and, as of a couple months ago, the great Oksana Chusovitina, who has returned to compete and coach the country of her birth.
Doping cases in gymnastics are extraordinarily rare, but the ones that do occur usually involve furosemide, which is used to treat hypertension, edema and keep racehorses from bleeding through the nose during races (seriously.) Thailand’s Do Thi Ngan Thuong was banned from the 2008 Olympics after testing positive for furosemide (she said she had taken it as a weight-loss supplement) and Brazil’s Daiane dos Santos tested positive in 2009. Both continued competing internationally following their suspensions.
Related: Read the FIG’s press release on the case here.
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