The International Olympic Committee continued to strip Russian athletes of their Sochi Olympic medals on Friday, this time disqualifying bobsledder Alexander Zubkov and speedskater Olga Fatkulina over their involvement in a state-sponsored doping program.
Zubkov won gold in both the two-man and four-man bobsled competitions while Fatkulina won silver in 500-meter speedskating, part of a 33-medal haul for Russia that topped the table. But the IOC now has taken away nine of those medals — four of them gold — dropping Russia behind the United States, Norway and Canada in terms of total medals.
Zubkov, who now is president of Russia’s bobsled federation, and Fatkulina also were permanently banned from future Olympics.
An investigation completed last year by Canadian attorney Richard McLaren found that the Russian government doped more than 1,000 Olympic athletes in 30 sports between 2011 and 2015, tainting the country’s results at the 2012 London Summer Olympics, the 2013 track and field world championships and the 2014 Sochi Games.
The IOC will announce early next month whether it will ban Russian athletes from next year’s Winter Olympics in PyeongChang as further punishment for the doping scheme. It did not issue a blanket ban of Russian athletes for last year’s Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, ruling that individual sports federations could decide whether specially vetted Russians could compete as “neutral” athletes. That option apparently is on the table again, though Russian sports leaders have said they would boycott the PyeongChang Games if their athletes aren’t allowed to compete under the Russian flag.
Last week, the World Anti-Doping Agency announced that it would not lift its suspension of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency because of the country’s refusal to officially admit to the doping scheme and its refusal to turn over doping samples collected during the time of the cheating.