Egorova, Lyubov (1966—)

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Egorova, Lyubov (1966—)

Russian Nordic skiing champion. Name variations: Ljubov or Ljubova Yegorova. Born on May 5, 1966, in Tomsk, Russia; married with children.

Won silver medals in the 5 km and 30 km and gold medals in the 10 km, 15 km, and 4×100 km in the Winter Olympics in Albertville (1992); won a silver medal in the 15 km and gold medals in the 5km, 10km, and 4×100 km in the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer (1994).

The Soviet Union long held sway in women's cross-country events. In the 1964 Olympics, Claudia Boyarskikh took first place in all three Nordic events. Four years later, Galina Kulakova appeared on the scene, earning four gold, two silver, and two bronze Olympic medals from 1968 to 1980. Her teammate, Raisa Smetanina , continued the pattern from 1976 to 1988, winning three Olympic gold medals, five silver medals, and one bronze, thus, tying for the most decorated competitor in the history of the Winter Games.

Following the breakup of the Soviet Union, Lyubov Egorova won six gold medals at two Winter Olympics (1992 and 1994) in the 5-, 10-, 15-, 30-, and 4×100-kilometer Nordic cross-country skiing events using the classic technique. In 1992, representing Russia's Unified Team, she took gold in the 10-, 15-, and 4×100-km and silver in the 5- and 30-km in Albertville, becoming the most successful woman athlete in a single winter games. (Another member of the Unified Team, 23-year-old Elena Välbe , won a gold medal and four bronzes in the same events.) In 1994, at the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, Egorova did it again, adding three more golds and two silvers in cross-country events.

In February 1997, at the Nordic World championships, Egorova won another gold medal but was disqualified when her doping test came back positive for a stimulant known as Promanthan, a drug had that had just been added to the doping list the previous November. Instead, Välbe moved up to first. Egorova openly admitted using the drug, absolved her Russian coaches who did not know that the drug was on the list, and claimed that she took an old tablet by mistake. She was adamant that none of her coaches be blamed for the situation.