FILE PHOTO: Russia’s Anton Shipulin celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the men’s biathlon 4 x 7.5 km relay at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games, Russia February 22, 2014. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian biathlete Anton Shipulin, who won gold at the 2014 Sochi Olympics in the men’s 4×7.5 km relay, announced his retirement on Tuesday as Russian biathlon remains under increased scrutiny.
“I have made a very serious decision to end my professional career,” Shipulin, who also won bronze in the 4×7.5 km relay at the 2010 Vancouver Games, said at a press conference in Moscow.
“There are several reasons but the main one is that we weren’t invited to the 2018 Olympics.”
The 31-year-old was not among the four Russian biathletes cleared by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to compete at this year’s Pyeongchang Winter Games.
Russia was formally banned from this year’s Olympics as punishment for alleged state-sponsored doping at the Sochi Games, but the IOC invited a number of Russian athletes with no history of doping to compete as neutrals.
Shipulin’s announcement comes less than two weeks after Austrian police visited the Russian national team at a Biathlon World Cup event in the town of Hochfilzen over possible doping violations.
The International Biathlon Union (IBU) later announced that Austrian authorities were investigating five biathlon officials and five athletes from Russia over possible doping-related offences during the 2017 World Championship.
The IBU charged four Russian biathletes with anti-doping rule violations in November, but Shipulin was not among them.
Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty