Was Kiwi cyclist robbed of a medal by Russian?

Was New Zealand's world champion cyclist Linda Villumsen cheated out of an Olympic Games medal in London four years ago?

The question is being asked after the World Anti Doping Agency's overnight report revealing Russia's state-sponsored doping programme and a call for the country to be banned from competing in the Rio Games starting in just over a fortnight.

Villumsen, winner of the world individual time trial championship last year, finished fourth in the same event at the London Olympics.

The described Russian tactics in the McLaren Report labeled "disappearing positive methodology" began in 2011, bringing results at major events like the London Olympic into question.

Anti-Doping Agency calls to ban Russia from Rio Olympics

Russian Olga Zabelinskaya won the bronze medal in London. Zabelinskaya has since been banned for 18 months after she tested positive for the banned drug octopamine at an international meet in mid-2014. Her competition ban ended in September last year. But following the Wada report, it is now highly unlikely Villumsen will run into her in Rio.

Villumsen, overseas and building up for Rio, has not been able to be contacted for comment at this stage.

Listen: Former Wada boss David Howman on the Crowd Goes Wild Breakfast

Meanwhile, if Russia is punted from the Olympics as expected, it will boost the hopes of rising Kiwi pole vault star Eliza McCartney.

The move would prevent Russia's world champion vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva from competing.

Isinbayeva is a two-time Olympic gold medallist and three-time world champion. Just last week, she blasted the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), claiming the governing body is "under orders" to prevent her country's athletes from competing at the Rio Games.

The two-time Olympic champion took to Instagram to vent her frustration, after the IAAF's decision to reject applications from Russian athletes bidding to take part in the event.
"Athletes from other countries are counting the days before the opening of the Olympics, and we are waiting for the Sports Arbitration Court decision," she wrote. "Where the world athletics is rolling, when this mess will be over - no one knows the answer.

Listen: Andy Brown, Sports Integrity Initiative, on Newstalk ZB's Early Edition

"For the first time, in 20 years of my professional career, I have to fight in the court for my right to participate in the Olympics. It feels like the IAAF was ordered to prevent [Russia's participation] at any costs."

McCartney is currently ranked seventh in the world on performances so far this year. Some Kiwi athletics observers believe the Auckland teenager is an outside chance for a medal in Rio.

One Kiwi athlete who will welcome any Russian ban from Rio is double shot put gold medallist Valerie Adams.

In an exclusive video interview with the New Zealand Herald earlier this year, Adams led the charge of prominent international stars calling for Russia to be stopped from sending a team to Rio.

"People talk about 'the innocent athletes' but it's bigger than that. If you don't hold a chicken by its neck and tell it to stop, then you'll never sort the situation out," she told the Herald.

"If people high up the ranks of a federation are helping with this naughtiness, you can't clean the sport up. They have been given guidelines and things they must do to get the suspension taken away."

"I have no sympathy whatsoever. I've been done over myself because of drug cheats, and competed against drug cheats at the start and middle of my career.

"I think this is an issue which means Russia - and the rest of the world - needs to realise they must clean up their act. This is some serious s**t. It's unfair athletes from outside that country have to fight against this.

"People might think I'm heartless and cold, but that's sport. It's competitive and you've got to do what's best for you. It's not because it's my fault. It's their fault."

It now looks like Adams will get her wish.

- NZ Herald

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