– Estonian cross-country skier and two-time Olympic gold medalist Andrus Veerpalu received a three-year ban from the sport for his use of human growth hormone. The International Ski Federation doping panel ruled that the recently retired Veerpalu, 40, cannot compete until Feb. 23, 2014, the last day of the Sochi Winter Olympics.
He tested positive for the banned substance in January before this year’s World Championships and retired before the competition in February. The Estonian Ski Association, which initially appealed Veerpalu’s two-year ban, planned to appeal the latest decision through the Court of Arbitration for Sport, according to Reuters.
– A 57-year-old man from New South Wales, Australia, died while cross-country skiing with two friends after falling some 700 meters — about 2,300 feet – off a cliff in northeast Victoria. The Australian Broadcast Company reported that his body was located on Mount Feathertop, the state’s second highest mountain, early Wednesday afternoon. Police said he lost control of his skis on a patch of ice and fell down a precipice at Avalanche Gully.
– On a lighter note, Björn Ferry, Sweden’s 2010 Olympic gold medalist in the 12.5 k biathlon pursuit, agreed to appear in the season finale of a TV music competition called Doobidoo, according to the website Langde.se.
He sang a Christmas song last year with Swedish actress and comedian Babben Larsson to land a spot on the pop-quiz show. In the program that airs Nov. 18, he’ll have to answer music questions on the fly.
“I have short distances between the brain and mouth,” he told Langde. “So the questions I can Plupp out pretty fast.”