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