2 Russian skiers get life bans over Sochi Games doping

Berlin, GermanyUpdated: Nov 01, 2017, 05:05 PM IST

Alexander Legkov and Evgeniy Belov have been banned for life from Olympics Photograph:(Reuters)

 Russia’s cross country gold medalist Alexander Legkov and compatriot Evgeniy Belov were banned from the Olympics for life on Wednesday over doping at the Sochi 2014 winter Games, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said.

The two athletes were the first Russians to be sanctioned for anti-doping rule violations following an IOC investigation into allegations of widespread doping among Russians and sample tampering by lab and security officials to give them the edge.

Legkov won gold in the 50km and a silver medal in the 4x10km relay event. The IOC said all of Russia’s 4x10km team would be disqualified given Legkov’s violation.

Belov did not medal at the Sochi Games.

The IOC did not specify what kind of anti-doping rule violation the skiers had committed but said both of them were “ineligible to be accredited in any capacity for all editions of the Games... subsequent to the Sochi Olympic winter Games.”

It said more decisions would follow in the coming days as it completes its investigations into Russian competitors.

The IOC is re-testing all Russian athletes’ samples from the 2014 Games following revelations by Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of Moscow’s discredited anti-doping laboratory, of a scheme to cover up home competitors’ positive samples.

The Sochi scandal is part of a wider doping affair in Russia that has led to the suspension of the country’s anti-doping agency and an international ban for track and field athletes.

The IOC has said it will decide during its executive board meeting on December 5-7 about the participation of Russian competitors at the Pyeongchang winter Olympics in February.

Russian track and field athletes were banned from the Rio de Janeiro summer Games following the doping affair.