Six Rus­sian XC Skiers Pro­vi­sion­ally Sus­pended

Will Rus­sia be Banned from the Games?

SkiTrax - - Day Ask -

The Rus­sian dop­ing fi­asco is heat­ing up with the Pyeongchang 2018 Games around the cor­ner, and all eyes are on the In­ter­na­tional Ski Fed­er­a­tion (FIS) and the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee (IOC).

In De­cem­ber 2016, six cross-coun­try skiers and two biath­letes were pro­vi­sion­ally sus­pended as they were linked to dop­ing vi­o­la­tions dur­ing the Sochi 2014 Win­ter Olympics as a di­rect re­sult of the Mclaren Re­ports, com­mis­sioned by the World Anti-dop­ing Agency (WADA). The re­port sug­gested as many as 1,000 ath­letes could be in­volved in Rus­sia's mas­sive dop­ing scan­dal, of which 28 Nordic ath­letes were high­lighted by the IOC.

Fol­low­ing no­ti­fi­ca­tion, Alexan­der Legkov, Maxim Vylegzhanin, Evgeny Belov, Alexei Pe­tukhov, Ev­ge­nia Shapo­val­ova and Ju­lia Ivanova ap­pealed, but the FIS Dop­ing Panel made the unan­i­mous de­ci­sion to up­hold the pro­vi­sional sus­pen­sions un­til Oct. 31, 2017.

Legkov and Belov ap­pealed to the Court of Ar­bi­tra­tion (CAS), but their ap­peals were de­nied, and on Nov. 1, the IOC Dis­ci­plinary Com­mis­sion com­posed of De­nis Oswald (chair­man), Juan An­to­nio Sa­ma­ranch and Pa­trick Bau­mann up­held the sus­pen­sions of the two ath­letes. Then on Nov. 9, the remaining four cross-coun­try skiers were also banned from all fu­ture Olympics as a re­sult of be­ing found guilty of dop­ing at the 2014 Sochi Games.

But the IOC'S ju­ris­dic­tion is re­stricted to the Olympic Games, and in its de­ci­sion man­dated FIS “to con­sider any fur­ther ac­tion within its own com­pe­tence,” in­clud­ing the FIS World Cup and other FIS com­pe­ti­tions. A de­ci­sion is pend­ing by the FIS Dop­ing Panel prior to the sea­son-open­ing World Cup in Ruka, Fin­land on Nov. 24.

The big­ger ques­tion is whether Rus­sia will be banned from the Pyeongchang 2018 Games as a re­sult of its state-spon­sored dop­ing that rep­re­sented “an un­prece­dented at­tack on the in­tegrity of sport.” Pres­sure is mount­ing on the IOC and FIS from ath­letes, fed­er­a­tions and anti-dop­ing agen­cies to take de­ci­sive ac­tion and sup­port clean sport. – JM

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