Doping struck the Winter Olympics today, bruising a Games that officials had hoped would restore the image of clean sports competition after the scandals of the Athens Summer Games.

Russian athlete Olga Pyleva, who took the silver medal in Monday's 15-km individual biathlon, was suspended pending a disciplinary investigation into doping by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), her team said.

"They have found something in sample A, but sample B has yet to be done," a spokesman for the team said. It was not known what substance had been found.

IOC sources said the disciplinary commission was meeting later on Thursday. The commission only meets when both samples have tested positive.

If she is found guilty she will be thrown out of the Games, stripped of her medal and faces a two-year ban from the sport.

She may even face a criminal prosecution in Italy under a pre-Games agreement between the government and IOC.

It was the first suspension of the Games, which for five days had been a celebration of sporting achievement and had officials hoping that the doping scandals that soured the Athens Games could be forgotten.