Budapest, Hungary — All of Russia’s weightlifters were banned from the Olympics on Friday for doping for what the international federation called “extremely shocking” results that brought the sport into “disrepute.”
The eight competition spots have been offered to other countries.
The International Weightlifting Federation said the “integrity of the weightlifting sport has been seriously damaged on multiple times and levels by the Russians.”
It said the punishment was an “appropriate sanction” to “preserve the status of the sport.”
The IWF described the doping results as “extremely shocking and disappointing.”
To replace the eight Russian lifters in Rio, five countries were offered places in the men’s competition — Belarus, Croatia, El Salvador, Mongolia and Serbia. For the women, Albania, Georgia and Moldova became eligible. Because of the lateness of the decision, the IWF said it was not clear whether all the spots would be filled.
In justifying its actions against Russia, the IWF said retests of samples from seven Russian weightlifters who took part in the 2008 Beijing Olympics or 2012 London Olympics resulted in positive tests, and more were expected.
Two female weightlifters — Tatiana Kashirina and Anastasiia Romanova — were withdrawn by the Russian federation for earlier doping offenses. The names of the other banned lifters were not announced.
Australian Olympic team members returned to their building at the Rio Olympic Athletes Village after smoke from a small fire in the basement prompted an evacuation.
According to a team spokesman, between 50-60 athletes and staff had to leave the building for about 20 minutes. A spokesman for the Rio organizing committee said cardboard caught fire in the basement area.
This comes after a tension-filled week in which Australia refused to occupy its building, citing gas and plumbing leaks, electrical shorts, and general filth.
The Australia delegation finally moved in on Wednesday, three days after the official opening on Sunday.
Felix feeling better
U.S. runner Allyson Felix says she expects to be close to 100 percent when 400-meter qualifying begins on Aug. 13.
Felix, who hurt her right ankle during training this spring, was at less than 100 percent earlier this month at the U.S. Olympic trials.
She failed to qualify for her favorite race, the 200 meters, and will not have a chance to defend her Olympic title at that distance.
At the U.S. training camp on Friday, Felix said she doesn’t think she’ll ever get past the disappointment of not getting to go for the 200-400 double, but she’s focused on the task at hand.
The 400-meter finals are set for Aug. 15.