European Championship racer Elena Nikitina has dropped a bombshell at the Winter Olympics by suggesting that there is a "war" in the Russian Olympic Committee skeleton team.
The 29-year-old, who won bronze at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, is part of a six-person team in Beijing that includes three women and three men.
Ahead of her third heat in the women's skeleton event on Saturday, Nikitina has posted a message on her Instagram story that left a team official feeling baffled.
A series of messages regarding her time at the current games included the words: "We're at war internally! A war between our own that we have been able to hide for a long time.
"That's the scariest thing there is. The worst thing that can happen to any athlete. (…) I love my life so much and will never be part of this filth!"
Russian Olympic Committee international relations chief Elena Anikina has since given an explanation, and suggested that what has been claimed isn't true.
Anikina said in response as quoted by Sport Bild: "For me, this post is a surprise. There is no war. I think it's just nerves and disappointment with their own results."
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Nikitina, who has five European Championship gold medals to her name as well as being a former World No. 1, had outlined her discomfort earlier in the day on Friday (February 11).
She said: "Friends, thank you all for your support.
"As you can see, no miracle happened, mentally I was already devastated in the middle of the season. Unfortunately, I'm not a robot…"
She added: "I've wanted to tell you something for a long time, regardless of my result. Tomorrow I'll start with two races just for myself, I won't try to prove anything to anyone.
"One more thing! Run away from people who hope you will make mistakes. From people who tell you a hundred times that you can't do it. And run away from people who treat you like s***.”
She concluded: "I will finish the competition, then I will tell everything!"
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