On November 23rd, two articles from Kazakhstani news outlet Kazinform announced that weightlifter Ilya Ilyin had been ordered to return his two Olympic gold medals (Beijing 2008 and London 2012) following positive doping retests that came to light earlier in 2016.

The same outlet also reports that the weightlifter — who was undefeated over the course of his decade-long international career — faces up to an 8 year ban and intends to retire from competing in the sport.

Ilyin, 28, won two Olympic Games in the 94kg weight class, four world championships in the 94kg weight class, and one world championship (his most recent in 2014) at 105kg. Along the way, we set clean & jerk and total records in both weight classes.

But doping retests from the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games rocked the weightlifting world just months before the Rio Olympics, and Ilyin was one of the more prominent names implicated. A provisional suspension led to his exclusion from competition in Brazil, though Ilyin did attend Rio weightlifting sessions as a fan.

Now faced with a competition ban — the exact details of which have yet to be announced by the IWF or IOC as of this writing — Ilyin has applied to business school in order to pursue an MBA while indicating his career as a weightlifter is likely over.

However, he did not rule out a return to the sport through coaching and is still considering an appeal of an expected IOC ruling:

“Probably I will gather a new weightlifting team and will share my knowledge and experience. I am also thinking to appeal the decision of the International Olympic Committee, but for this I will need to change my attorneys, since the national federation specialists could not protect us.”

We’ll continue to provide more information as it develops.

Featured image: @ilyailyin_official


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BarBend's Co-Founder and Editorial Director, David is a veteran of the health & fitness industry, with nearly a decade of experience building and running editorial teams in the space. He also serves as a color commentator for both National and International weightlifting competitions, many through USA Weightlifting. David graduated from Harvard University and served for several years as Editorial Director/Chief Content Officer of Greatist.com. In addition to his work in the health & fitness industry, David has been a writer for Fortune and Fortune.com, as well as a contributor to Forbes.com, Slate, and numerous other outlets across the web and in print. He's especially passionate about the intersection of strength sports and quality, professional media coverage — overlapping interests shared by the BarBend editorial team and which drive their content strategy each and every day. David is a proud Kentucky native. In his free time, David is a voiceover actor and can be heard in animated films, independent shorts, music videos, commercials, and podcasts.