The Sochi Winter Olympics are officially not a drug-free zone as of today, believe it or not. With just days remaining in the competition, we've received news of our first banned athletes.
The German Olympic Committee announced on Friday that one unnamed athlete tested positive for drugs in a first sample. A secondary sample is being looked at today, but is unlikely to contradict the initial report, making Germany the first official team to be susceptible to the consequences — disqualification of the athlete and any results or medals he participated in. The athlete has not yet been named, and the International Olympic Committee won't make any comment on the process, per procedure. Germany has won 16 medals, eight of them gold, in the Games so far.
At least Germany can take solace in the fact that it is not alone. Soon after Germany's announcement came, the Associated Press reported that Italy is dealing with a doping scandal of its own:
BREAKING: Italian Olympic Committee says bobsledder William Frullani kicked out of Sochi Games for doping.— AP Sports (@AP_Sports) February 21, 2014
MORE: Italy has replaced Frullani on its four-man bobsled team with Samuele Romanini. http://t.co/RzjwIw9mK1— AP Sports (@AP_Sports) February 21, 2014
Frullani, a decathlete by trade before becoming a bobsled pusher, tested positive for the drug dymetylpentylamine during a February 18 test. Furllani's event (the four-man bobsled) has not taken place yet, so he'll be replaced on the squad and dismissal won't affect their standing.
The IOC says it is conducting 2,453 drug tests in Sochi, which is a record for the Winter Olympics. One Russian biathlete, Irina Starykh, failed a test before the Games and withdrew from the competition, but these are the first recorded positive cases of current athletes.
During the Vancouver Games in 2010, Polish cross-country skier Kornelia Marek tested positive for drugs and was dismissed from the Games and banned from This year's Olympics.