Russia loses 2 more Olympic silver medals because of doping
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Russia has lost two more Olympic medals from Sochi because of doping, and luge has now been touched by the scandal for the first time.
Albert Demchenko, a luger who won two silver medals at the Sochi Games, was among 11 athletes disqualified by the International Olympic Committee on Friday and banned from the games for life.
Demchenko won silver in men’s luge and as part of the team relay. Also banned Friday was Tatiana Ivanova, who was also part of the team relay.
They were among the last 11 rulings on the 46 current doping cases reviewed by the IOC. Lugers from Italy, Germany, Latvia and Canada are set to be upgraded in the medals.
The International Luge Federation had no immediate comment about the IOC decisions. FIL President Josef Fendt said in recent weeks that he believes the Russians sliding now are clean — a comment that was appreciated by Demchenko, who is now a coach within the Russian federation.
“On one page, it makes you question everything that their entire program has done,” said 2014 Olympic women’s bronze medalist Erin Hamlin of the U.S., whose medal placing will not be affected by Friday’s decisions. “At the same time, I beat a lot of them. So you know what? It didn’t work. And in that sense it’s extra-satisfying. ... But questions it all, not just the Olympics, and that stinks.”
Luge officials have maintained that their sport is clean, even while bobsled and skeleton — the other Olympic sliding sports — have been dealing with the aftereffects of the state-sponsored Sochi doping program for some time. Russia has lost two bobsled gold medals from Sochi in the IOC decisions on doping, a gold medal in skeleton, a bronze in women’s skeleton and now two silvers from luge.
“We’ve heard for so long that luge doesn’t have a problem and everything’s fine and blah blah blah,” Hamlin said. “And now everything’s going to be questioned.”
Two cross-country skiers disqualified Friday, Nikita Kryukov and Alexander Bessmertnykh, already lost team event medals in recent weeks when other Russians were disqualified.
Of the 46 hearings, three athletes were cleared.