Russian skiers Elena Vedeneeva and Dimitry Osinkin have been red flagged by FIS and are not permitted to start any FIS-sanctioned events.
Vedeneeva were suspended for refusing an out-of-competition doping control, while Osinkin has retired.
The issue came to light at last weekend’s La Sgambaeda Ski Marathon, the first event in the FIS Marathon Cup.
Vedeneeva’s situation appears somewhat complicated. When doping officials showed up at her house in October, they were allowed in, but Vedeneeva refused the test.
She told skipost.ru that her twin brother had died the night before, and she had taking a strong sedative, the drug Valokordin.
Regardless of the circumstances, Vedeneeva is now flagged. While neither skier has been a consistent presence on the World Cup, both have had strong results in the past.
Vedeneeva finished 32nd in the 2007 Tour de Ski and has started three additional World Cup races, all in Russia, with a best finish of 11th in a freestyle sprint in 2007.
She has had her best results, however, in the Rollerskiing World Cup, with numerous podium finishes, including World Championship silver last summer.
Vedeneeva has been a member of Team Tchepalova, and coached by Olympic Gold Medalist Julia Tchepalova’s father. Julia is currently prohibited from starting and a two-year ban for doping is pending.
The 31-year-old Osinkin has started 16 World Cup races, with a career-best 15th in the 30km freestyle in Rybinsk, Russia in 2007. That was his last World Cup start, though he has competed regularly in Continental Cup events since.
FIS has confirmed that the flag is due to Osinkin’s retirement, and that he has committed no wrong-doing.
“Since he was in the FIS testpool at the time of retirement, he will be subject to the return to competition rule and that is why he is marked [flagged] in our database,” said Sarah Fussek, Administrator FIS Anti-Doping.
The drug Valokordin (or Valocordin), taken by Vedeneeva, is not marketed in the US according to drugs.com. Valokordin is closely related to Corvalol, and the Wikipedia page for that drug lists the only difference being that Valocordin is produced in Germany (Valocordin is trademarked in that country) and Corvalol in Eastern Europe. Wikipedia also states that it is illegal to import Corvalol into the United States. Also according to Wikipedia, the drug is used without a prescription as a tranquilizer and heart medication.
Neither Valocordin or Corvalol are listed on the WADA banned substances list. A search for the active ingredients of these drugs also returned no matches on the list.
The active ingredients are Phenobarbital and Bromisoval, both with strong sedative properties. There is no indication that either ingredient would have a positive impact on training or race performance.
Jurg Capol, the FIS Cross-Country Race Director, in a telephone conversation with FasterSkier, had no additional details on the matter.
Nathaniel Herz contributed to this story.
Topher Sabot is the editor of FasterSkier.