On yet another doping-tainted day for Russian sport, 28 athletes now face IOC cases linked to cheating at the Sochi Winter Olympics and a major cross-country skiing event was removed from the country.
The IOC said Friday it has opened 28 disciplinary proceedings against Russian athletes whose urine samples were likely tampered with at the 2014 Olympics.
Six cases involve cross-country skiers who are now provisionally suspended by the International Ski Federation (FIS), which did not identify them. Russia won five medals, including one gold, in men’s cross-country skiing on home snow at Sochi.
The new wave of Olympic doping cases is based on evidence provided this month by World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren.
McLaren detailed vast state-backed cheating in Russian sport that included swapping athletes’ tainted samples for clean urine through the testing laboratory at Sochi.
In further fallout from McLaren’s report, the world ski body said Russian officials have handed back hosting rights for the end-of-season World Cup finals in cross-country skiing.
The event was scheduled in March in Tyumen, which on Thursday also lost the right to host a biathlon World Cup event in March.
“The findings in the McLaren Report have seriously damaged the integrity of sport and we are determined to ensure the necessary measures are undertaken to punish the offences,” said FIS President Gian Franco Kasper, who is also a member of the IOC’s executive board.
The IOC said the 28 new cases being examined by its disciplinary commission are not positive doping tests. However “the manipulation of the samples themselves could lead to an Anti-Doping Rule Violation and sanctions.”
The IOC cites legal reasons for not identifying the athletes.
FIS said it was the responsibility of the Russian ski federation and the athletes themselves if they wished to be identified.
On Thursday, the International Biathlon Union said it provisionally suspended two Russians whose cases from Sochi were opened by the IOC.