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Two Russian Olympic Skiers May Lose Medals Over Doping – Report

Alexander Legkov kisses podium after winning gold in the Sochi 2014 men's 50K cross-country race. He may be stripped of this title, suggest reports. AP/ Matthias Schrader

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) may strip two Russian skiers of gold and silver medals they won at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. The news comes after an investigation revealed extensive usage of performance enhancing drugs among Russian athletes.

“[Skiers] Alexander Legkov and Maksim Vylegzhanin will likely lose their medals,” a source in the IOC told the Finnish Iltalehti newspaper.

The decision to disqualify the skiers will be based on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s report on Russia’s alleged efforts to manipulate drug testing at the Sochi Games. 

The investigation culminated in a report written by lawyer Richard McLaren, which alleges more than a thousand Russian athletes – across 30 sports – were connected with the use of performance-enhancing drugs or the concealment of positive urine samples.

Investigators also found evidence that 12 Russian athletes who won medals at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi had substituted their drug test samples. Legkov and Vylegzhanin were among those accused. If the accusations hold up to scrutiny, the two skiers’ victories will be annulled.

At Sochi, Legkov won gold in the 50-kilometer men’s freestyle cross-country skiing and a silver medal in the men’s 4 x 10 kilometer relay. Vylegzhanin won three silver medals for the men’s 50-kilometer freestyle, the 4 x 10 kilometer relay, and the 30 kilometer team sprint.

These would not be the first consequences the skiers face for their alleged involvement in doping. In December 2016, the International Ski Federation announced it was temporarily banning Legkov and Vylegzhanin, along with four other Russian skiers, from international competition.

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