Sochi 2014: IOC life bans on Russian skiers

By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw

Two Russian skiers have been given life bans by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for anti-doping violations during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, following an IOC investigation into allegations of widespread doping by Russian athletes and sample tampering by laboratory and security officials.

The skiers are: Alexander Legkov, who won a gold medal in the men’s 50-kilometre cross-country race and also a silver medal in the 4×10 kilometre relay event; and Evgeniy Belov, who competed in the men’s skiathlon and 15-kilometre classic cross-country skiing event, but did not win any medal. Both are the first Russian skiers to be sanctioned by the IOC.

Furthermore, as a result of Legkov’s violation, the IOC has also disqualified the entire Russian 4×10 kilometre team.

The Russian Cross-Country Skiing Federation has announced that it is appealing against these bans to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

It will be recalled that the IOC is retesting all the Russian athletes’ samples taken at the Sochi Games, as a result of the revelations about a scheme to cover up Russian competitors’ positive samples made by Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of the discredited and suspended Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory.

After his ‘whistle-blowing’, Rodchenkov fled to the US, but, on 21 September 2017, in his absence, a Russian Court ordered his arrest for “abuse of official powers” which have led to “grave consequences”.

It is reported that the IOC will decide at its Executive Board Meeting, to be held at the beginning of December, which Russian athletes will be allowed to compete in the forthcoming Winter Olympics, due to take place in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in February 2018.

Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw may be contacted by e-mail at ‘ian.blackshaw@orange.fr’