The International Olympic Committee has banned two Russian cross-country skiers and a biathlete for life from the Olympics Games. The bans come as a result of the re-analysis of samples from the 2014 Sochi Winter Games. Among the three athletes banned on Friday is Olga Zaitseva, who won silver in the women’s biathlon relay at the Sochi Games. She had already been stripped of that medal when her relay teammate, Olga Vilukhina, was banned on Monday.
Zaitseva is one of the most successful Russian biathletes in Olympic history, having won two gold medals and a silver medal from previous Games. Those she will keep, because Friday’s decision applies only to the 2014 Games, not the 2006 and 2010 Olympics.
Cross-country skiers Anastasia Dotsenko and Yulia Chekaleva were the other Russian athletes banned this Friday. Neither won a medal.
This brings the number of Russian athletes to receive lifetime bans from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to 25.
In its statement on Friday, the IOC also said that the number of probed cases has risen from 28 to 36 “after additional findings from the re-analyses” of drug test samples.
The IOC started its investigations last year after World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren published evidence of a Russian program of doping and cover-ups, including tampering with samples at the drug-testing laboratory used for the Sochi Games.
Russian officials and athletes have protested their innocence throughout the scandal and some sanctioned athletes have already said they will appeal their bans at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
pfd/ftm/hf (AP, AFP, dpa)