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Four More Russian Skiers Get Banned For Life Over Doping At Sochi Olympics


Russia's Maksim Vylegzhanin (top) as he crossed the finish line and was greeted by teammates at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games

Four more Russian cross-country skiers on November 9 were found guilty of doping at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, including silver medalist Maksim Vylegzhanin.

The Russian Cross-Country Ski Federation said the four were disqualified by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and banned from all future Olympics.

The other three skiers found guilty are Aleksei Petukhov, Yulia Ivanova, and Yevgenia Shapovalova. Vylegzhanin won three silver medals in Sochi, but none of the others won a medal.

The Olympics committee did not reveal the nature of the doping violations and said a fifth, unnamed athlete had escaped punishment. It has been retesting all Russian athletes' urine samples from the 2014 games.

Six Russian cross-country skiers have now been found guilty of doping at the Sochi Olympics. Aleksandr Legkov, who won gold in the 50-kilometer race ahead of Vylegzhanin in a Russian sweep, and Yevgeny Belov were banned last week.

Vylegzhanin also finished second in the team sprint and the 4x10-kilometer relay. Russia's was stripped of its relay silver last week when Legkov was banned.

The Russian ski federation said it was preparing an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport for the four new cases. Legkov and Belov have also said they will appeal.

The latest bans leave Russia with only one medal in cross-country skiing, the bronze won by Ilya Chernousov in the 50-kilometer event. The Olympics committee will decide if he should be upgraded to gold now that those placed ahead of him have been disqualified.

Russia remains at the top of the Sochi medals table, but more verdicts are expected which could affect other golds, potentially pushing Russia below Norway.

With calls increasing to ban Russia's team from the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang in February, the IOC's executive board will meet on December 5-7 to decide the matter.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters
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