Hidden away 50 pages into the International Ski Federation’s (FIS’s) anti-doping rules is a policy that has received little publicity in the charged debate surrounding performance-enhancing drug use. “As a condition of regaining eligibility after being found to have committed an anti-doping rule violation,” it reads, “[an] Athlete must first repay all prize money forfeited.”
After the 2009 Tour de Ski, Finland’s Sami Jauhojaervi stood to benefit from the application of that rule. In that race, Jauhojaervi finished tenth overall—one place behind Russia’s Evgeni Dementiev, who was later announced to have tested positive for a blood-boosting drug before the race’s sixth stage on January 3, in Italy.
Russian media reported earlier this month that Dementiev would be making his return to the sport for the 2011-2012 season, after serving a two-year suspension. But in an e-mail to FasterSkier on Sunday, Jauhojaervi said he has never been awarded the difference between ninth and tenth place—2,187 Swiss francs, or $2,226 U.S.
“I have never received the difference after Tour de Ski 2009, so maybe I should ask after the money!” Jauhojaervi said.
According to FIS rules in place when Dementiev tested positive, each national ski association must make agreements with its athletes that provide a legal basis for reclaiming prize money in the event of a positive drug test. Those agreements, the rules read, should include a provision stipulating that when a skier is convicted of doping, he or she will “immediately” give back all prize money earned after the violation occurred.
In an e-mail to FasterSkier, FIS Anti-Doping Administrator Sarah Fussek said that Dementiev’s money from his finish at Tour de Ski should already have been redistributed, and she did not respond to a question about Dementiev’s eligibility.
“As far as we are aware this has been done. If the funds have not reached the adressate, we will check with the book keeping,” Fussek said.
An e-mail inquiry sent to the Russian Ski Federation regarding its policies was not immediately returned; a representative reached by phone said that the federation’s president and general secretary were traveling until next week.
Prize money for the overall 2009 Tour de Ski was paid 10 athletes deep, so Czech skier Lukas Bauer, who finished 11th, also stood to received 2,187 Swiss francs after Dementiev’s disqualification. Lucie Švarcová, Bauer’s publicist, did not immediately respond to an e-mail inquiry.
Earlier this month, a story published in the Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang highlighted a similar policy in the International Biathlon Union’s (IBU’s) anti-doping rules that will cost three suspended Russian biathletes a combined total of more than $135,000.
FIS and IBU’s rules diverge slightly—under those in place at the time the biathletes were caught, they were not required to return prize money immediately. But according to Verdens Gang, all three have declared their intentions to make a comeback, and before they can do so, the Russians will have to pay. Ekaterina Iourieva owes the most—over $85,000 U.S.—while Albina Akhatova owes $38,000 and Dmitri Yarochenko $18,500.
Nathaniel Herz is a reporter for FasterSkier, who also covers city government for the Anchorage Daily News in Alaska. You can follow him on twitter @nat_herz.