RUSSIAN SKIERS GIVEN LIFETIME BANS
Four more Russian cross- country skiers were found guilty of doping at the 2014 Sochi Olympics on Thursday, including three- time silver medallist Maxim Vylegzhanin. The International Olympic Committee said all four had their results disqualified and have been banned from all future Olympics. Russian President Vladimir Putin disputed the bans, saying that United States interests were trying to use doping scandals to discredit his government and influence the country’s presidential election in March. “In response to our supposed interference in their elections, they want to cause problems in the Russian presidential election,” Putin said, according to comments reported by Russian news agencies. The cases against the Russians were built on evidence of a state doping conspiracy detailed by World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren. Without positive doping tests, the IOC disciplinary panel used evidence of coverups and tampering of sample bottles first gathered last year by McLaren’s team.