Russian banned from Olympics wins Euro speed skating gold
KOLOMNA, Russia (AP) — A Russian speed skater banned from the Olympics for doping won gold Sunday at the European Championships.
Olga Fatkulina took Russia to the women’s team sprint title in 1 minute, 26.71 seconds, ahead of the Netherlands and Norway. Another skater banned from the Olympics, Alexander Rumyantsev, won silver for Russia on Sunday in the men’s team pursuit. Rumyantsev also won silver in Saturday’s 5,000 meters.
Both have been sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee as part of its investigation into a Russian doping scheme at the 2014 Winter Olympics. However, their bans don’t apply in non-Olympic events, because the International Skating Union has yet to follow up with any suspensions of its own.
Russia finished second only to the Netherlands in the overall European championship standings on home ice with five gold medals, despite the turmoil around its participation in the Olympics.
Russians will compete in Pyeongchang next month under the Olympic flag as “Olympic Athletes from Russia.” That’s part of the country’s punishment after the IOC ruled Russian athletes were systematically doped at the 2014 Games.
The Netherlands won the men’s and women’s team pursuits Sunday, and added another gold when Dutch skater Jan Blokhuijsen won the men’s mass start in 8:23.19. That meant the Netherlands finished with six gold medals from the championships.
Andrea Giovannini was second for Italy, with Ruslan Zakharov of Russia third.
Italy took gold and silver in the women’s mass start, with Francesca Lollobrigida beating Francesca Bettrone over the line in 8:38.69. The bronze went to Austrian Vanessa Herzog, collecting her third medal of the championships after gold in the women’s 500 meters and silver in the 1,000.
Russia won the men’s team sprint.