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Russians get life bans for Sochi doping

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A Russian gold medallist at the 2014 Sochi Olympics has been disqualified using evidence from an investigation into a state-backed doping conspiracy.

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The International Olympic Committee says cross-country skier Alexander Legkov, who won gold in the individual 50-kilometre freestyle race in a Russian podium sweep on the last day of competition.

The Russian trio received their medals in the main Olympic Stadium during the closing ceremony. Legkov also took silver in the 4×10-kilometre relay event.

A second Russian cross-country skier who did not win a medal, Evgeniy Belov, has also been disqualified.

The IOC says both have been banned from attending any future Olympics.

They are the first Sochi Olympic cases to be judged without positive doping samples, but instead on evidence initially gathered by World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren.

McLaren was appointed to examine claims by Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of Russia’s WADA-authorised drug-testing laboratories.

Rodchenkov, who is now in a witness protection program in the United States, said he switched tainted urine samples for clean ones at the Sochi lab with help from the Russian security service.

After McLaren’s reports into Russian doping were published last year, the IOC created a disciplinary panel to verify the evidence and judge the cases.

“Additional decisions from these first hearings will be communicated in the coming days,” the IOC said.

A total of 28 cases involving Russian athletes in Sochi who were implicated by McLaren were handed over to the IOC panel, chaired by Swiss lawyer Denis Oswald.

“More hearings concerning other athletes will be held over the next few weeks,” the IOC said.

Russian cross-country ski federation president Yelena Valbe said the rulings will be appealed at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

-Reuters 

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