In a move dripping with political calculations, the Russian National Olympic Committee appealed the decision of the Moscow City Court that invalidated the doping finding against Russian bobsledder Alexander Zubkov from the 2014 Sochi Games.
The Russian tribunal held that the Court of Arbitration for Sport decision that Zubkov was guilty of doping – as part of the state-run doping program for its Olympic athletes – was invalid in Russia.
The Russian NOC appeal noted plainly that the decision could “give rise to doubt that Russia truly observes the main principles of the fight against doping.”
Russia is in a delicate period right now in terms of eligibility for the 2020 Tokyo Games. It was provisionally reinstated in September by the World Anti-Doping Agency, but with multiple conditions. One of those was the turnover of data from the discredited Moscow laboratory of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency, where the doping scheme was headquartered, by 31 December of this year. Meetings have been held, but so far, there is no agreement on when and how a WADA team will be able to access this data.
In the meantime, the International Olympic Committee is asking Zubkov to return his gold medals from the Sochi Games, as required by the Court of Arbitration for Sport decision. Zubkov, by the way, is the current president of the Russian Bobsleigh Federation!