The International Olympic Committee says it has banned 11 Russian athletes for life and stripped two more Olympic medals from Russians won during the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.
Silver medalists Tatyana Ivanova and Albert Demchenko, who competed in Sochi in the women’s and men’s luge, respectively, have been banned and stripped of their medals.
The other athletes banned from future Olympic games include two speedskaters (Ivan Skobrev, a two-time medalist at the 2010 Vancouver Games, and Artem Kuznetcov), three cross-country skiers (Nikita Kryukov, Alexander Bessmertnykh and Natalia Matveeva), two bobsledders (Liudmila Udobkina and Maxim Belugin), and two ice hockey players (Tatiana Burina and Anna Shchukina).
The IOC decision is part of an investigation into allegations of state-sponsored doping of Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. So far, the IOC has sanctioned 43 Russians. Twenty-two of those have lodged appeals at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, with the first of the appeals set to begin in January.
Investigators say the evidence indicates that Russia was involved in an elaborate scheme to manipulate drug test samples and that the plot included senior government officials. Russia has repeatedly denied it carried out a doping operation.
Earlier this month, the IOC banned Russian athletes from competing under the Russian flag at next year’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, because of the doping scandal. However, the commission has said that Russian athletes who prove they are free of drugs and who compete under a neutral flag can participate at the upcoming Olympics.
The Pyeongchang Olympics run from February 9-25 with Russian athletes competing under the Olympic flag as Olympic athletes from Russia (OAR).