Related Biography: Russian Skier Lyubov Egorova
At the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, Russian cross-country skier Lyubov Egorova tied Skoblikova's record of six Olympic gold medals and was hailed as a sports hero. Her career and reputation, however, were derailed when she failed a drug test at the 1997 World Championships.
Egorova was born in Siberia in 1966 and moved to St. Petersburg as a teen to train on her country's best cross-country course. Described as a late bloomer, she didn't win her first international competition until she was 25. At the 1991 and 1993 World Championships, she won three gold medals. She also was the 1993 World Cup overall champion. Competing for the Unified Team at the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France, she medaled in all five nordic skiing events, winning three golds and two silvers. She matched Skoblikova's gold count at the 1994 Games, winning three more golds and a silver.
Egorova's downfall came in 1997, when she was caught taking a banned substance, Bromantan, which can enhance performance and mask other drugs. She was stripped of the gold medal she won days earlier and was barred from World Championship competition for two years. Egorova professed shock, insisting that she did not knowingly take Bromantan. Many did not believe her explanation that she accidentally consumed the substance by taking a medication.
Egorova lives in St. Petersburg with her husband and resumed competing at the end of her two-year ban. Although her Olympic record is unaffected, the scandal angered fans and competitors.
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