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Bobsleigh gold medallist becomes latest Russian athlete sanctioned by IOC

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has sanctioned another Russian medallist from the 2014 winter Olympic Games amid its ongoing probe into the doping scandal surrounding the event, with bobsledder Alexey Voevoda issued with a life ban.

The 37-year-old, who won gold medals in Russia’s two-man and four-man bobsled teams, was found to have committed anti-doping rule violations at Sochi 2014 and is disqualified from the events in which he participated.

In addition, he has been declared ineligible to be accredited in any capacity for all future editions of the Olympics. As an Olympic champion, Voevoda (right of picture) was elected to the state parliament for the United Russia party representing the Krasnodar region.

The IOC said the Russian team is disqualified from the two-man bobsleigh and four-man bobsleigh events, and the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) has been requested to modify the results of the events and to consider any further action within its own competence.

Alexander Zubkov (left of picture), Voevoda’s team mate in both events, was previously found guilty of anti-doping violations and also sanctioned. He has since become one of more than 20 Russian athletes who have taken appeals against the sanctions to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

The IOC said more hearings concerning other athletes will be held over the next few weeks. To date, the number of cases opened by the Disciplinary Commission has reached 46 after additional findings from the re-analyses of samples from Sochi. Thirty-five of them have already been handled, of which three have been filed. As some investigations are still ongoing, notably the forensic analysis of the bottles, the IOC said it cannot be excluded that there might be new elements that would justify opening further new cases.

The IOC’s Oswald Commission has announced that all hearings for active athletes who could qualify for the 2018 winter Olympics in Pyeongchang will be completed shortly.

The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) last week gave its formal backing for its athletes to compete under a neutral flag at the 2018 Games, with President Vladimir Putin also offering his support for the decision.

The IOC this month banned Russia from competing at the upcoming Pyeongchang Olympics after finding evidence of an “unprecedented systematic manipulation” of doping results surrounding the 2014 Games in Sochi.

The IOC said that some individual Russian athletes will be able to participate at the Pyeongchang Games, which will run from February 9-25, as an “Olympic Athlete of Russia” if they can satisfy a series of conditions in relation to their doping-free track record. However, neither the Russian flag nor the Russian national anthem will be shown or heard at the Games.

The final list of Russian athletes, support staff and officials who will be allowed to participate under the Olympic banner at the Games is set to be revealed by January 28.