7 Olympians getting bad press

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    (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

    7 Olympians getting bad press

    Irina Starykh, biathlon, Russia

    Facing what's considered the toughest anti-doping program in the history of the winter games, Russia's top biathlete Irina Starykh dropped out of Sochi only a week before the games were to begin. Starykh, who tested positive for doping, called the test result a "misunderstanding." She has left the team for an "indefinite period of time,” according to a letter she wrote, posted on the Russian biathlon program’s website.

    (Reuters/Mike Blake)

    7 Olympians getting bad press

    Sebastien Toutant and Maxence Parrot, snowboarders, Canada

    Sure, it's a competition -- but let’s keep it kind. The games have yet to start and Max Parrot and Sebastien Toutant have already had to delete tweets and apologize for trash-talking about American snowboarder Shaun White. The tweets according to the Star read: Toutant: “Mr. White... It’s easy to find excuses to pull out of a contest when you think you can’t win...,” Parrot: “Shaun knows he won’t be able to win the slopes, thats why he pulled out. He’s scared!”

    (Reuters/Lucy Nicholson)

    7 Olympians getting bad press

    Patrick Chan, figure skating, Canada

    Parrot and Toutant are not the only Canadians talking smack. Figure skater Patrick Chan is dishing it out to his Russian “rival” Evgeni Plushenko. To Chan there apparently is no competition. He said, “Who would have thought, after what happened at nationals, that they would have sent him.” Chan also took shots at Plushenko’s age, “That’s a lot of work for — what is he? — a 30-year-old?” Then again, this is the Olympics: a world where figure skating creates plenty of drama, and at least this isn’t Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan-level terrible.

    (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

    7 Olympians getting bad press

    Peetu Piiroinen, snowboard, Finland

    There's been a lot of talk about the snowboarding slopestyle event, which debuted Thursday night at Sochi. Several snowboarders have been injured during practice heats, and American snowboarder Shaun White dropped out, raising questions about the safety of the course. Following this high-profile departure from the event, snowboarders have chimed in about the slopestyle course. Finn Peetu Piiroinen is no exception. He thinks the jumps might be too much to handle “for the girls.” Seriously? There’s no room for sexism on the slopes -- just look at Australia's Torah Bright who came in second in qualifying rounds. If anything this run has equal opportunity for injury. Just ask Australia’s Scotty James who hurt his “man parts” on the course.

    (Reuters/Fabrizio Bensch)

    7 Olympians getting bad press

    Bruno Banani, luge, Tonga

    No, a pair of German briefs will not be competing in the luge event, but it is no coincidence that Bruno Banani shares the name of the underwear company. In the most ridiculous marketing ploy ever, the 26-year-old from Tonga was recruited in 2008 to move to Germany and learn how to luge, and was issued a new name (and passport, according to the Guardian). Eventually the scheme was outed and Banani was not allowed to compete in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. But the IOC's objections were overruled when Banani received a Tongan passport with his new name. Now, the farmer's son is the 16th ranked luger in the world and is excited to represent his home country.

    (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)

    7 Olympians getting bad press

    Vic Wild, snowboad, Russia

    Vic Wild was born in Washington state, but this year he is enjoying home advantage in Russia. According to the BBC, he did not make the U.S. 2010 team and his Olympic ambitions were sputtering out. But that didn’t quell his Olympic-size dreams. In a decision that was part due to love and part due to lack of coaching, Wild decided to jump ship and move to Russia. He couldn’t join the team, however, until 2011, when he married his girlfriend Alena Zavarzina. The joke may be on the U.S., though, because he won bronze in the 2013 World Championships.

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Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at pgupta@salon.com.

Sarah Gray is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on innovation. Follow @sarahhhgray or email sgray@salon.com.

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