Russia loses two more Sochi medals after IOC bans four skeleton racers

2014 Olympic men’s champion Aleksandr Tretiakov one of those affected

Alexander Tretiakov: 2014 Olympic champion has been banned from all future Games. Photograph:  Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Alexander Tretiakov: 2014 Olympic champion has been banned from all future Games. Photograph: Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

 

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has banned four more Russian athletes for doping at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Having already announced retrospective sanctions for six cross-country skiers, Wednesday’s quartet are all skeleton racers, including 2014 Olympic men’s champion Aleksandr Tretiakov and women’s bronze medallist Elena Nikitina.

Those two, plus Maria Orlova and Olga Potylitsyna, are now also banned from all future Games, ruling them out of February’s 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang.

This comes only four days after Nikitina claimed her first World Cup win in four years in Utah and will boost British star Lizzy Yarnold’s chances of defending her Olympic title in South Korea.

These sanctions have been handed out by the disciplinary commission the IOC set up to prosecute cases against individual athletes mentioned in Canadian law professor Richard McLaren’s 2016 investigation for the World Anti-Doping Agency.

His landmark report, published last December, accused Russia of running a state-sponsored doping programme that benefited more than 1,000 athletes in 30 sports.

That programme was at its peak in Sochi, where Russian athletes dominated, winning 33 medals, including 13 golds.

Today’s announcement, however, means they have now lost six of those medals with more to go as a total of 28 Sochi Olympians were mentioned in McLaren’s report.

Led by IOC member Denis Oswald, the commission is working its way through the sports and has promised more batches of decisions in the coming weeks.

A second commission, chaired by former Swiss president Samuel Schmid, is looking at the bigger issue of whether the entire Russian team should be banned from Pyeongchang or not.

Its report, which will focus on what role the state and sporting authorities played in the scandal, will be sent to the IOC’s executive board before it meets in Lausanne in early December.

The decision on what collective sanction Russia will face, if any, will be announced by IOC president Thomas Bach on December 5th.

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