MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia could lose medals from the 2008 Beijing Olympics after 14 of its athletes tested positive for banned substances during re-tests conducted from eight-year-old samples, the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) said on Tuesday.
The ROC said in a statement that it had been informed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that re-tests of those samples had yielded 14 positive results from Russian athletes.
The ROC said it would not give the names of the athletes until the results of testing of their B samples and the start of official disciplinary proceedings.
Russian media reported a list of athletes, which could not be verified by Reuters.
It included high jumper Anna Chicherova who won a bronze medal in Beijing and went on to claim gold in London in 2012.
Her coach confirmed she was on the list earlier on Tuesday.
Several other athletes who won medals in Beijing were named.
"The Ministry of Sport is extremely disappointed to hear the speculation that Russian athletes are among those found to have violated anti-doping rules at the 2008 Beijing Olympics after re-testing their samples," Russia's Sports Ministry said in a statement.
"Any athletes found cheating should face corresponding sanctions. We have taken numerous steps to eradicate the issue of doping, and understand that the roots of the problem, particularly in athletics, go back to the past."
The latest revelations were a further blow to Russia and its hopes of sending a full team to Rio. The country's track and field athletes have been suspended since November after an international investigation uncovered damning evidence of doping and corruption.
The world athletics' governing body, the IAAF, will decide on June 17 whether Moscow has done enough to clean up its act and be readmitted to competition and this year's Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
Russia's athletics federation said on Tuesday that it would not allow athletes who had been caught doping in previous years into the Russian team for the Rio Games.
The IOC said it would not comment on the ongoing process. It is expected to announce the results of re-tests of the London 2012 Games this week.
Calls for a blanket ban of the entire Russian team have grown louder with every twist of this scandal that has rocked world sport.
(Reporting by Alexander Winning, Writing by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Ed Osmond)