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Russian athletes face allegations of systemic doping

Russian athletes face allegations of systemic doping
Liliya Shobukhova became the first woman to win the Chicago Marathon three times when she crossed the finish line in 2011. (José M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune)

Russian athletes, coaches and officials came under fire Wednesday after media reports alleging systemic doping across a range of sports.

A German television channel and the French sports daily L'Equipe produced separate reports on the alleged cheating, and international track officials told the Associated Press they were already investigating the matter.

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Top Russian sports officials and the country's anti-doping agency reportedly declined to comment.

Olympic 800-meter champion Maria Savinova and three-time Chicago Marathon winner Liliya Shobukhova were among the athletes named in the media reports.

A former Russian runner told the German television channel ARD that coaches had provided banned substances and that bribes had been paid so that positive test results would be overlooked. The report linked other sports -- including swimming, cycling, biathlon and weightlifting -- to alleged cheating.

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