VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — A female Russian hockey player was reprimanded Thursday but escaped a ban after testing positive for a stimulant in the first doping violation of the Vancouver Olympics.
The International Olympic Committee said Svetlana Terenteva tested positive Saturday for a "light stimulant" contained in a prescription cold medication. The substance — tuaminoheptane — is banned during competition but not out of competition. It is found in inhalers and nasal sprays.
Terenteva, a 26-year-old forward who has played in four world championships, told the IOC she used the drug Rhinofluimucil in Russia to treat a cold last month. She said she stopped using the medication when she arrived in Vancouver on Feb. 3, a day before the Olympic drug-testing program began.
A three-man IOC disciplinary panel ruled that Terenteva committed a violation because the substance was found in her system.
Normally, an athlete testing positive at the Olympics is automatically disqualified and expelled from the games. But IOC vice president Thomas Bach, who headed the panel, said this was a "special case" that necessitated leniency. Russia's first game is Sunday.
The IOC said the Russian team doctor was aware Terenteva had been taking the medication and the player was "totally open and cooperative" with the investigation. The IOC also noted it was the first violation in a long career.
The Olympic body told the Russian national Olympic committee to ensure "by all means' that its athletes and officials comply with all doping rules.
More than a half-dozen Russian biathletes and cross-country skiers have been suspended in the past year for using blood-boosting drugs. IOC president Jacques Rogge said this week that he urged Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and other officials to crack down on cheaters.
Terenteva's case is the first violation of the most rigorous anti-doping program in Winter Games history.
The IOC is conducting more than 2,000 urine and blood tests in Vancouver, compared with 1,200 in Turin four years ago. Athletes can be tested out-of-competition at any time and any place.
As of Wednesday, the IOC said it had collected 634 doping samples since the opening of the athletes' village on Feb. 4.
World Anti-Doping Agency president John Fahey said Thursday that more than 30 athletes had been excluded from coming to Vancouver for breaking doping rules in recent months. He declined to give any other details.
There was only one positive test during the 2006 Turin Games — Russian biathlete Olga Pyleva was stripped of a silver medal for use of a stimulant. She is back with the Russian team for the Vancouver Games under her new married name of Olga Medvedtseva.
Italian police raided the lodgings of the Austrian biathlon and cross-country ski teams during the Turin Games, seizing blood doping equipment. The Austrian athletes did not test positive at the time, but six were later banned by the IOC for involvement in the scandal.