Tchekaleva, Dotsenko, Zaitseva Banned from Olympics; Number of Cases Grows to 36

FasterSkierDecember 1, 2017
Russia’s Yulia Tchekaleva (27) chasing during the women’s 10 k freestyle pursuit last March at 2017 World Cup Finals in Quebec City. She finished 23rd and ended last season ranked 10th in the Distance World Cup and 11th in the Overall World Cup. On Friday, the International Olympic Committee decided on a lifetime ban for Tchekaleva and another Russian cross-country skier, Anastasia Dotsenko, as well as Russian biathlete Olga Zaytseva. (Photo: Dustin Satloff/

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has handed down three more lifetime Olympic bans to two Russian cross-country skiers and a biathlete, all of which are women, based on the Oswald Commission hearings concerning Russia’s systematic doping at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Russia’s Olga Zaitseva leads Canada’s Megan Imre in a 2014 IBU World Cup pursuit.

Cross-country skiers Yulia Tchekaleva and Anastasia Dotsenko and biathlete Olga Zaitseva have been sanctioned, according to an IOC press release on Friday.

“More hearings concerning other athletes will be held over the next few weeks,” the release stated. “As of now, the number of cases opened by the Disciplinary Commission has reached 36 after additional findings from the re-analyses.”

So far, 25 Russian Winter Olympians have been sanctioned for violating anti-doping rules in Sochi.

“As some investigations are still ongoing (notably the forensic analysis of the bottles), it cannot be excluded that there might be new elements that would justify opening further new cases. Today 26 athletes have been heard and one case has been filled,” the release stated.

While neither Tchekaleva nor Dotsenko medaled at the 2014 Games*, Zaitseva did — taking silver in the women’s relay. That medal was stripped earlier this week when her teammate Olga Vilukhina was sanctioned on Wednesday. Zaitseva, who retired in 2015, is a two-time relay gold medalist from 2006 and 2010; those results are unaffected.

Russia’s Yulia Tchekaleva racing at last year’s Davos World Cup in Switzerland. (Photo: Fischer/NordicFocus)

Tchekaleva finished last season ranked 11th overall on the World Cup and 10th in the Distance World Cup. Now 33, she started this season a couple weekends ago at Sweden’s  International Ski Federation (FIS) races in Gallivare, where she placed second in the 10 k classic and sixth in the 5 k freestyle. She hasn’t raced since.

Dotsenko, 31, hasn’t raced a World Cup since February 2016, but she also started this season in Gallivare (where her best result was 18th in the classic sprint), then raced another set of FIS races in Kontiolahti, Finland, last weekend, where she placed fourth and fifth place.

“The reasoning for these decisions will be communicated in due course,” the release stated, following the process it outlined when it initially sanctioned Russian cross-country skiers Alexander Legkov and Evgeniy Belov exactly a month ago. The IOC published its full reasoned decision for penalizing Legkov 27 days later, on Monday.

Read full IOC press release here.

*At the 2014 Olympics, Tchekaleva and Dotsenko originally raced to sixth with two teammates in the 4 x 5 k relay, and the four team members received diplomas for that result, according to the IOC. Tchekaleva also placed 11th in the 10 k classic, 15th in the skiathlon, and 32nd in the 30 k freestyle mass start. Dotsenko finished 22nd in the classic sprint. All of those results have been erased.

Zaitseva notably competed in six Olympic events in Sochi: placing second in the women’s 4 x 6 k relay to take silver, and fourth in the mixed relay “for which she was awarded a diploma“. Individually, she finished 11th in the 10 k pursuit, 15th in the 15 k individual, 23rd in the 12.5 k mass start, 28th in the 7.5 k sprint. Those results are also voided.

Russia’s Anastasia Dotsenko (22) racing with (from left to right) Germany’s Sandra Ringwald, Norway’s Ragnhild Haga, American Sophie Caldwell, Norway’s Kathrine Rolsted Harsem, and Slovenia’s Anamarija Lampic during a World Cup classic sprint in February 2016 in Drammen, Norway. (Photo: Fischer/NordicFocus)


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