Saturday August 24th, 2019 9:29AM

Q&A about Russian win in Olympic doping cases

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

GENEVA (AP) — In a landmark legal ruling, 28 Russian athletes had their disqualifications from the 2014 Sochi Olympics for doping overturned on Thursday.

Some of them will now seek late entries to this month's Pyeongchang Games because the Court of Arbitration for Sport also canceled their life bans from the Olympics.

Still, CAS did not entirely exonerate the 28. And by upholding the disqualifications of 11 others, the judges did seem to believe there was orchestrated doping four years ago in Sochi.

Here is a look at the case, which is likely to create more uncertainty and legal turmoil in the days before the opening ceremony in Pyeongchang on Feb. 9:



Two investigations by International Olympic Committee panels concluded late last year that Russia operated a systematic doping program at the 2014 Sochi Games, where the host nation topped the medals table.

It was "an unprecedented attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games," said IOC President Thomas Bach, who has long been seen as an ally of Russia.

The scale of Russian doping had been detailed since 2013 by media reports, a key German television documentary and World Anti-Doping Agency investigators.

Specific claims of a Sochi doping scheme were made in May 2016 by Russian whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov and verified by WADA-appointed investigator Richard McLaren. Still, the majority of Russian athletes were allowed to compete at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.



Rodchenkov said a complex urine-swapping scheme was performed at the Sochi Olympic drug-testing laboratory. The IOC panel found him to be a persuasive witness.

Athletes who were using a fast-acting cocktail of steroids had their tainted samples swapped for clean urine that had been stored weeks or months earlier. Rodchenkov claimed state agencies kept a list of athletes on the "Duchess" cocktail.

The key was forcing open supposedly tamper-proof sample bottles using a method Rodchenkov said was perfected by Russia's security service, known as the FSB.

McLaren verified the claims by detailing scratches and marks on the glass bottles.

In some re-tests last year, the clean urine had abnormal levels of salt added to make the samples seem more credible. In others, the DNA did not match the athlete's.



The CAS judges gave urgent verdicts but not detailed legal reasons on Thursday. They appeared to be prepared only to accept evidence of the salt and DNA irregularities.

"That's the difference between the athletes, the high level of salt in their urine samples," Philippe Baertsch, a lawyer for the athletes, told The Associated Press.

Baertsch even disputed the DNA evidence, saying the "very low amount of foreign DNA" could be due to contamination.

In the published ruling of the IOC panel's investigation of hockey player Anna Shibanova, one of her urine samples in Sochi was revealed to have the DNA of "at least three males and one female."

Rodchenkov testified from the United States — where he is in a witness protection program and cooperating with the FBI — in the CAS hearings in Geneva last week.

Some of his testimony, including the "Duchess" list, doesn't seem to have convinced the judges.

"Rodchenkov does not distinguish between his factual knowledge and his conclusions from what he believes the plan was," said Christof Wieschemann, a lawyer for cross-country skiing gold medalist Alexander Legkov.

Legkov's disqualification was overturned.

The two CAS panels included a total of four judges who needed only to be "comfortably satisfied" by the evidence to convict in civil law cases.

Instead, the IOC noted, they appeared to apply a higher burden of proof, as if in a criminal case.



Bobsled: Dmitry Trunenkov, Aleksei Negodailo (both won gold in four-man event, but medal stripped in Zubkov case) Olga Stulneva, Liudmila Udobkina.

Skeleton: Alexander Tretiakov (gold), Sergei Chudinov, Elena Nikitina (bronze), Olga Potylitsyna, Maria Orlova.

Cross-country skiing: Alexander Legkov (gold in 50-kilometer race; silver in 4x10K relay), Evgeniy Belov, Maxim Vylegzhanin (silver in 50-kilometer race, 4x10K relay and team sprint), Alexey Petukhov, Nikita Kryukov (silver in team sprint), Alexander Bessmertnykh (silver in 4x10K relay), Evgenia Shapovalova, Natalia Matveeva.

Hockey: Ekaterina Lebedeva, Ekaterina Pashkevich, Tatiana Burina, Anna Shchukina, Ekaterina Smolentseva.

Luge: Tatyana Ivanova, Albert Demchenko.

Speedskating: Olga Fatkulina (silver in 500 meters), Alexander Rumyantsev, Ivan Skobrev, Artem Kuznetsov.



Bobsled: Alexander Zubkov (gold in two-man and four-man), Alexey Voevoda (gold in two-man), Alexander Kasyanov, Aleksei Pushkarev, Ilvir Khuzin.

Cross-country skiing: Julia Ivanova, Yulia Chekaleva, Anastasia Dotsenko.

Hockey: Galina Skiba, Anna Shibanova, Inna Dyubanok.



The IOC has said the 28 athletes who won their appeals are not sure to be invited to join the neutral "Olympic Athletes from Russia" team in South Korea.

Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov said they could go back to CAS to force the IOC to invite them. However, the Switzerland-based IOC said it will consider an appeal to the Swiss supreme court to challenge the CAS rulings.


More AP Olympic coverage:

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP World News
© Copyright 2019
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Mrs. Obama says 'lovely frame' in box during awkward handoff
Former first lady Michelle Obama says there was "a lovely frame" in the Tiffany-blue box Melania Trump delivered on inauguration day
12:07PM ( 6 minutes ago )
Charlie Walk skips 'The Four' finale after harassment claim
Charlie Walk says he'll skip "The Four" finale next week so as not to be a "distraction" after sexual harassment allegations surface
11:53AM ( 20 minutes ago )
New Hampshire's highest court hears topless beachgoers' case
A lawyer for three women arrested for going topless on a New Hampshire beach has told the state's highest court that the local law they're accused of violating is discriminatory and unconstitutional
11:50AM ( 24 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
All 30 MLB ballparks to have expanded netting by opening day
All 30 major league ballparks will have expanded protective netting by opening day that reach to at least the far ends of each dugout
11:24AM ( 50 minutes ago )
28 Russians have Olympic doping bans lifted
Twenty-eight Russian athletes have had their Olympic doping bans overturned, throwing the International Olympic Committee's policy on the country into turmoil
11:13AM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Putin pleased with ruling on Russian doping
Vladimir Putin says he is pleased with the legal ruling that lifted the Olympic doping bans for 28 Russian athletes
10:58AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Sports
Reaction to Trump's immigration offer casts doubt on a deal
There's no sign of a compromise on immigration after the president's State of the Union address
11:39AM ( 35 minutes ago )
Hawaii's 'last princess' fights for control of her fortune
A 91-year-old Native Hawaiian heiress considered by many to be the last Hawaiian princess is fighting her former lawyer over control of her $215 million fortune
11:38AM ( 35 minutes ago )
GOP lawmakers put medical skills to work after train crash
Republican members of Congress with medical experience put their skills to work after a train carrying dozens of them crashed into a garbage truck in rural Virginia, killing one person in the truck and injuring others
10:01AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
The Latest: Poland says Holocaust law designed to aid truth
Poland's Foreign Ministry says the new legislation to regulate Holocaust speech is intended to "fight all forms of denying and distorting the truth about the Holocaust."
8:58AM ( 3 hours ago )
The Latest: Israel views Polish vote with 'utmost gravity'
Israel's Foreign Ministry says Israel "opposes categorically" the vote in the Polish Senate in favor of regulating Holocaust speech.
5:49AM ( 6 hours ago )
Trump administration officials fan out to sell tax overhaul
Trump administration deploys vice president, Cabinet officials and staff as well as president himself to convince Americans that the Republican tax overhaul was a good idea
12:27AM ( 11 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
New Hampshire's highest court hears topless beachgoers' case
A lawyer for three women arrested for going topless on a New Hampshire beach has told the state's highest court that the local law they're accused of violating is discriminatory and unconstitutional
11:50AM ( 24 minutes ago )
Statue of US lawmaker Tom Lantos unveiled in Hungary
A statue of late, Hungarian-born U.S. Congressman Tom Lantos has been unveiled in his childhood district in Budapest
11:48AM ( 26 minutes ago )
Builders up spending by 0.7 pct; signs of pressure emerge
US builders pushed December construction spending up 0.7 percent to record high, though strains are on display
11:46AM ( 27 minutes ago )
Latino group leader rebuked for backing Trump border plan
The chief executive officer of the oldest Latino civil rights organization in the U.S. is rebuking the group's elected president for endorsing President Donald Trump's immigration plan that seeks to build a border wall
11:44AM ( 29 minutes ago )
The Latest: Russians want 15 more Olympic invitations
The Russian Olympic Committee says it wants to send 15 of the 28 athletes who won their appeals against doping bans to the Pyeongchang Games
11:42AM ( 32 minutes ago )