The International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) suspended five Russian bobsledders from competition. The announcement was published on the organization’s website on Thursday, December 13. Alexandr Zubkov, Alexey Voyevoda, Alexander Kasjanov, Aleksei Pushkarev and Ilvir Huzin are accused of violating anti-doping rules during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Zubkov is currently the head of the Bobsleigh Federation of Russia while Voyevoda has already retired from the sport.
The decision to disqualify the athletes was taken by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in November 2017. Their performance results in Sochi, where they won several medals, were annulled. The athletes received a lifetime ban from the Olympics. In February 2018, the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne (CAS) partially lifted the punishment, allowing them to take part in competitions, but forcing them to miss the Olympics in PyeongChang.
The ban is a result of the continuing conflict between Russian and international sports federations due to doping at the Olympics in Sochi. On November 21, the Moscow City Court restored Aleksandr Zubkov as an Olympic champion of the Olympic Games in Sochi on the territory of the Russian Federation. In response, the IOC demanded that the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) appeal this decision. The appeal will be considered in the Moscow City Court on December 24.
The ROC stated that if the provisions of the Olympic Charter are not enforced in Russian territory, it can lead to severe sanctions, up to the complete ban of Russian athletes from participating in the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020.
Alexandr Zubkov told Russian media that he didn’t agree with the decision to remove himself and other athletes and demanded that the IBSF hold a hearing on this issue.