A 4th Russian woman has been punished over positive tests for a banned stimulant, according to the Russian anti-doping agency RUSADA. Natalia Lovtsova received a two-and-a-half year ban, dating back to November 30th, 2012, from the sport. She was a member of the Russian 400 free relay that competed at the London Olympics, splitting as fast as a 55.00 in the 100 freestyle.
All four swimmers tested positive for the same stimulant, though there have been different levels of punishment for each. Former European Champion Ksenia Moskvina was suspended for 6 years, in a second positive test; another Olympian Ekaterina Andreeva got 18 months; and 14-year old Daria Ustinova, one of the world’s best young backstrokers, was simply warned for her offense.
RUSADA released another typically-dry statement on the matter, simply stating Lovtsova’s suspension and date. Doping has been at the forefront of Russian sport as of late (and Eastern Europe for that matter), and has reached far beyond the pool. Aside from these sanctions on four of Russia’s best swimmers, a Russian long jumper, after retests of samples from the 2005 World Championships, is in danger of losing medals posthumously; the Belarusian woman who won the Olympic gold in shotput has already been stripped, and may receive a lifetime ban as she came back positive in the 2005 retests as well. Since the Olympic Games, the RUSADA website has reported dozens of suspensions and sanctions against Russian athletes.