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abatt

IOC Bans Russia from 2018 Winter Games

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Russian athletes can perform under a neutral team in neutral uniforms with the Olympic anthem playing if they win, if Putin does not boycott the games.

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Not unexpected, though, since the original story broke several years ago on German TV, and this was followed by the McLaren investigation and two-part report, where the head of the Russian testing lab, now under protective custody in the US, described in detail a state-sponsored, Russian security-assisted program in the official testing labs to bypass WADA regulations in Sochi, including sample tampering, urine stockpiling and switching, and sample doctoring, where the chemical composition of the samples is not something that a living human can sustain.

In the lead-up to the decision tens of medals that Russian athletes won in Sochi have been stripped, dropping Russia from first to fifth in the medals table, with more results to follow.

The IOC has been dropping info for months, and Putin has been responding to them all along.

 

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7 hours ago, abatt said:

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/12/05/sports/olympics/ioc-russia-winter-olympics.html

 

I was so saddened to read this.  This is so unfair to Russian athletes who did nothing wrong and have never taken any banned substances.  As a figure skating fan, this is especially disheartening because some of the top women figure skaters in the world right now are Russian.

The scale of the cheating seems to have been spectacular -- how unfair it was to how many athletes from all over the world we may never really know. (Even those who will now get an after-the-fact medal have had a precious experience taken from them.) So how to stop it--how to make a difference--without taking very strong action? Especially as no-one seems clear exactly what is really being done in Russia to make sure the cheating stops? 

Since top skaters compete all over the world as a matter of course, and any number of them may, I hope, as other Russian athletes have done, be able to show a  "clean" record. And though not able to compete under the Russian flag, they will then be able to compete. Unless, as Helene says, Russia actively boycotts. But Russia may prefer to have its athletes compete "neturally" especially since some will likely do very well.

Edited by Drew
grammar

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They’ve released a provisional list of athletes who are allowed to compete at the Olympics. Among Those not on the list are short track speedskater Viktor Ahn, and figure skaters Ksenia Stolbova and Ivan Bukin. 

 

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/sports/article/Russia-says-Ahn-among-top-athletes-barred-from-12517189.php

Bukin’s domestic partner, btw, is Alena Samarskaya, a former Mikhailovsky soloist who was in that killer Bolshoi Academy Class of 2007 with Ovcharenko, Tsvirko, Zagrebnin, Okuneva, and Marchenkova. 

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Was Stolbova previously banned for a period of time for doping?   I had not previously heard of any ban on Bukin.   A shame that their partners on the ice must also suffer the consequences of the ban.

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No, Ksenia Stolbova is a Pairs skater who competed in Sochi and won team gold and individual silver.  Ice Dancer Ekaterina Bobrova, also part of the gold medal team, was suspended during this Olympic cycle for testing positive for meldonium, which was legal to take through the end of 2015.

WADA forced  her suspension based on questionable criteria, ie, reliance on inconclusive evidence about the half life of the substance and for how long it should appear in tests; this was subsequently debunked.  She was reinstated as a result.

While I understand that WADA is always at a disadvantage, because they have to react to the latest doping schemes -- most of which are useless to figure skaters -- they are the judge (at least to just below the Supreme Court of sports, CAS) and jury -- and the are not transparent, ie, they do not publish what studies they are basing their conclusions on or the criteria they use (ex: peer reviewed? sample sizes? how controlled?).  When the story broke, the inventor of the drug, a heart medicine, stated that their conclusions were not properly substantiated.

The McLaren Report, the documented result of an investigation after the Sochi lab director described a state-sponsored doping scheme for the 2014 Olympics, listed a female medal-winning figure skater, but no names.  Stolbova was on this short list.  Only recently was gold medalist Adelina Sotnikova cleared, after several years of uncertainty.  When that happened, and the scratches on her vial were considered accidental/normal handling, there was no reason not to assume that there was a single case, and it was closed.

There are also additional standards for Russian athletes: they have to have been tested enough outside the Russian testing system.  Bukin, who was a junior during Sochi, and Stolbova, who with her partner competed intermittently this cycle due to illness and injury, might fall into this category without having taken anything. 

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