Russian Olympic swimming bronze medallist Korneyev dies aged 40


May 4, 2014 (ISN) – Andrey Korneyev, who swam to an Olympic bronze medal in the Atlanta 1996 200 metres breaststroke event, has died of stomach cancer at the age of 40.

He enjoyed much success on the international stage, including setting a world short course record over the distance at 2:07.79 – taking 0.01 seconds off the standard held by Australian Phil Rogers since 1993 – at the Paris World Cup in March 1998.

Korneyev, who retained the world record until his compatriot Roman Sludnov swam 2:07.59 at the 2000 World Championships in Athens, also won multiple European medals, claiming bronze in the 200m at the 1993 edition in Sheffield, gold over 200m and as part of the 4×100m medley relay team in Vienna in 1995, and another 4×100m relay gold and 200m silver in 1997 in Seville.

He was also a Short Course World Swimming Championships medallist, claiming silver in the 200m breaststroke at the 1997 edition in Göteborg.

Korneyev’s Olympic medal win in Atlanta was, however, not without its controversy as he tested positive for the stimulant Bromantan, which saw Britain’s Nick Gillingham elevated to the bronze medal position.

The case went to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and Korneyev ultimately claimed back the Atlanta 1996 bronze as the drug was listed as banned by the International Aquatics Federation (FINA) but not by name – only by association – on the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) list at the time.

The case prompted Bromantan, which is said to have been used by astronauts to minimise the effects of dehydration, to be added to the IOC list in name and today is among the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) prohibited substances and methods.

Korneyev’s was one of several Bromantan cases among Russian athletes in various sports at Olympic Games, including backstroke swimmer Nina Zhivanevskaya and wrestler Zafar Guliyev.

Photo: Andrey Korneyev ultimately kept the Atlanta 1996 bronze medal despite originally losing it after testing positive for a banned substance ©AFP/Getty Images

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