Four More Russian Skiers, Vylegzhanin Included, Disqualified From 2014 Olympics

Chelsea LittleNovember 9, 2017
Russian team staff cheer on Maxim Vylegzhanin, the country’s anchor skier, in the 4 x 10 k relay at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Vylegzhanin has now become the second member of that silver-medal relay team to be disqualified for doping.

After Alexander Legkov and Evgeny Belov were retroactively disqualified from the 2014 Olympics last week for doping offenses, four more teammates have now been banned as well. Elena Valbe, the head of the Russian Cross-Country Ski Federation, told R-Sport that the IOC Disciplinary Commission had disqualified Maxim Vylegzhanin, Alexey Petukhov, Julia Ivanova, and Evgenia Shapovalova.

All four were identified in the McLaren Report, an independent investigation commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency to investigate reports from whistleblowers that Russia had systematically evaded the anti-doping process at the 2014 Olympics.

“The athletes have been disqualified for life from taking part in the Olympic Games,” Valbe said.

With Legkov’s disqualification, Russia had already lost a gold medal in the 50 k and a silver medal in the 4 x 10 k relay.

Vylegzhanin had finished second in the 50 k, but with him now disqualified as well, there could be a substantial medal re-allocation. Third-place Ilia Chernousov, also from Russia but not implicated the McLaren report, would stand to gain gold. Fourth-place Martin Johnsrud Sundby of Norway would take silver, and fifth-place Sergei Dolidovich of Belarus would earn bronze.

Vylegzhanin also won silver in the men’s team sprint with Nikita Kriukov. With that result invalidated, Sweden’s Emil Jönsson and Teodor Peterson will move from bronze to silver, and fourth-place Northug and Ola Vigen Hattestad would earn bronze.

Valbe said that the IOC Disciplinary Commission’s decision will be appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, so such medal reallocations are not yet finalized.

“It’s hard to choose words, but I’ll fight to the end — it’s a violation of all human rights,” Petukhov said, according to a translation.

Petukhov finished eighth in the skate sprint in Sochi; Shapovalova finished 28th. Ivanova was part of the sixth-place women’s relay and team sprint teams, both of which stand to be disqualified, and finished 17th in the 10 k classic and 30th in the 30 k skate.

The Canadian team of Perianne Jones and Dasha Gaiazova missed qualifying for team sprint finals as “lucky losers” by one spot. The Russian pair of Ivanova and Anastasia Dotsenko, however, did advance as lucky losers – meaning that if they had not been in the race, the Canadians would have been next in line for a spot in the finals.

Chelsea Little

Chelsea Little is FasterSkier's Editor-At-Large. A former racer at Ford Sayre, Dartmouth College and the Craftsbury Green Racing Project, she is a PhD candidate in aquatic ecology in the @Altermatt_lab at Eawag, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology in Zurich, Switzerland. You can follow her on twitter @ChelskiLittle.

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