Doping cases take a long time to wind their way through the hearing and judgement system, but the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation issued sanctions today (16th January 2019) for four Russian men who competed in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi (RUS).
Drivers Aleksander Zubkov and Aleksander Kasjanov and brakemen Ilvir Khuzin and Aleksei Pushkarev had a hearing in front of the ISBF’s Anti-Doping Hearing Panel. The result:
“The ADHP came to the conclusion that Mr. Aleksander Kasjanov, Mr. Ilvir Khuzin, Mr. Aleksei Pushkarev and Mr. Aleksander Zubkov have committed an Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV) for the use of a Prohibited Substance and the Use of a Prohibited Method (i.e. urine substitution) in violation of Article 2.2 of the IBSF ADR in connection with M2.1 of the 2014 WADA Prohibited List. These violations are for each of the Athletes regarded as one single violation according to Article 10.7.4 IBSF ADR 2009.
“For each of the athletes the ADRVs are their first doping violations. There are no circumstances that will lead to an elimination or reduction of the standard period of ineligibility.
“Mr Aleksander Kasjanov, Mr Ilvir Khuzin and Mr Aleksei Pushkarev, are already provisionally suspended as per December 13, 2018. Mr Aleksander Zubkov is provisionally suspended as per December 19, 2018.”
Zubkov drove the gold-medal-winning sleds in both the 2-man and 4-man events and was disqualified by the International Olympic Committee on a doping finding in 2017. Kasjanov, Khuzin and Pushkarev were in the fourth-place sled in the 4-man event and were also disqualified by the IOC in 2017.
The IOC additionally disqualified the other members of these sleds: brakeman Alexey Voyevoda (with Zubkov) in the 2-man event, and Zubkov’s other 4-man brakemen Dmitriy Trunenkov and Alexey Negodaylo, also in 2017.
The IBSF sanctions can be appealed, if desired, to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, where Zubkov has already lost once.
The sanction also included an interesting note that the four deemed ineligible are “not entitled to participate in any competition or activity. The term “activity” also includes, for example, administrative activities, such as serving as an official, director, officer, employee, or volunteer of the national organizations.”
This applies especially to Zubkov, who was elected as President of the Russian Bobsled Federation in 2016. He told the Associated Press that he has no plans to step down from his post. “I don’t see so far the link. I wasn’t elected by the federation, I was elected by the country. I will look at what grounds they are using to remove me from the post of president. After that I will take my decision.”
A Moscow City Court found last November that the CAS ruling that Zubkov had committed a doping violation at Sochi was “unfair” and he could keep his medals. The ruling was appealed, but an appeals court decided last week that the Moscow City Court ruling should stand, meaning Zubkov is an Olympic gold medalist as far as Russia is concerned. The IOC is still trying to get Zubkov’s medals returned.