Four Olympic weightlifting champions from Kazakhstan, including the sport's most celebrated figure Ilya Ilyin, are among 10 lifters to test positive for performance-enhancing drugs at the London Olympics after their samples were reanalysed.
Ilyin, the men's 94kg gold medallist, and three women champions, Zulfiya Chinshanlo (53kg), Maiya Maneza (63kg) and Svetlana Podobedova (75kg), failed tests, according to the International Weightlifting Federation.
The ten lifters, who include seven London medallists in total and a current world champion and who were expected to be medal contenders at the Rio de Janeiro Games in August, have all been provisionally suspended.
Double Olympic champion Ilyin, 28, is to weightlifting what Usain Bolt is to athletics.
His victory in London followed his triumph in Beijing in 2008. A multiple world record holder, he was confident of winning a third gold, at 105kg, in Rio.
Ilyin, who turned vegetarian and took a break from competition after the London Games, set his latest world records at the President's Cup in Moscow in December. He had never failed a test before.
The World Anti-Doping Authority (WDA) carried out the retests on athletes' samples in a range of sports at the 2008 and 2012 Games, after advances in science and detection methods.
"We believe that retrospective testing serves as a strong deterrent to those who may consider cheating," WADA said in a statement.