Olympic champion Ilya Zakharov Retires As Russia Media Report 3 Missed Doping Tests

IlyaZakharov RUS - Patrick B. Kraemer. Gold - 3m springboard, London 2012 Olympic Games final
Ilya Zakharov, 2012 Olympic springboard champion - Patrick B. Kraemer

Olympic champion Ilya Zakharov says injury ends career and denies doping after Russian media reports missed tests and suspension 

Russian diver Ilya Zakharov, who broke China’s gold-medal streak off the springboard at the London 2012 Olympic Games, has retired after missing three doping tests, according to national media in his country.

Under his own name on social media, Zakharov claims that his retirement is down to injury. However, Russian news outlets, including the state agency TASS, reported today that the diver had missed three anti-doping controls in a 12-month period. That had triggered an 18-month suspension under World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) rules, wrote TASS, citing the Russian Diving Federation.

The doping case reports on the website of FINA, the international federation, make no mention of any case involving Zakharov, winner of seven world-championships medals on the springboard and 10 European titles between 2011 and 2017.

Zakharov, who claimed 15 international titles – including Olympic, World, European and Universiade crowns – for Russia atop 33 podium places between 2010 and 2018, responded to national media reports with the following note on his Instagram page.

“I have never used doping … and I will never do it! Due to injury I had two operations and missed doping tests.”


A missed test is recorded if an athlete is not available within a one-hour window at the time and place he or she registered on the whereabouts form that all athletes in the anti-doping pool must compete each year. It takes three missed tests to trigger a penalty under the WADA Code.

Zakharov, 28, finished 18th at Rio 2016 and did not compete at the World Championships last July but he did win a synchronised springboard title at the Russian Championships in May after having undergone knee surgery earlier in the year.

The three missed tests are reported to have been registered for on October 21, 2018 and February 17 and June 11 this year, according to TASS, citing the Russian Diving Federation.

At the London 2012 Olympic Games, Zakharov overtook China’s Qin Kai on the last dive in the springboard final to become the first non-Chinese diver among both genders to win that crown since Barcelona 1992. Zakharov also claimed synchro springboard silver in 2012 with teammate Evgeny Kuznetsov behind Luo Yutong and Qin Kai of China and ahead of Americans Troy Dumais and Kristian Ipsen.


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