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Russian Olympics Chief to Resign Amid Doping Fallout

FILE - Russian Olympic Committee head Alexander Zhukov addresses journalists after an extraordinary meeting on issues, connected with Russian athletics team and federation, and held by the executive committee of the Russian Olympic Committee in Moscow, No

Russian Olympic Committee chief Alexander Zhukov said Tuesday he wants to resign from the position to focus on duties as a lawmaker.

Russian media quoted Zhukov as saying he would step down from the Olympic committee to focus on his position as deputy speaker in the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia, the State Duma.

Zhukov has served as Russia’s top Olympic official for the past six years, and his planned resignation comes after a massive doping scandal led to Russia’s track-and field team being banned from the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The World Anti-Doping Agency originally recommended a blanket ban of Russia’s 389-member Olympic team, based on an independent investigation that found evidence of a vast state-run doping program. Eventually, though, an International Olympic Committee panel cleared 271 Russian athletes to compete in the games.

The Russian Paralympic team was also banned from competing in the Rio Paralympic games.

In remarks Tuesday to a meeting of sports officials, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Zhukov made the right decision in choosing to step down, and said Zhukov had done a lot for Russian sports, though he made no mention of the doping scandal.

Russia has denied running a state-sponsored doping program, and said it was being unfairly punished for political reasons while officials ignore doping in other countries.