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Russia Wins World Cup Bobsleigh Race After IOC Strips Two Olympic Golds

Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) and bobsleigh pilot Aleksandr Zubkov at the closing ceremony of the Sochi Olympics in 2014.

A four-man Russian team has won a World Cup bobsleigh race, easing the country’s disappointment a bit after another bobsleigh competitor was stripped of two gold medals he won at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and banned from competition for life.

Aleksandr Kasjanov, Ilvir Khuzin, Vasily Kondratenko, and Aleksei Pushkarev on November 25 defeated the British team by about one-quarter of a second in the Canadian city of Whistler, British Columbia.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced on November 24 that it was stripping Aleksandr Zubkov of two gold medals won in Sochi and banned him for life, citing failed drug tests.

By stripping Russia of the medals, the country fell from first place to third on the gold medals table for the 2014 games, after Norway and Canada.

In terms of total medals from 2014, Russia now has 24, beneath the United States, Norway, and Canada.

Zubkov retired from competition in 2014 and is currently the president of the Russian Bobsleigh Federation.

Russian sports have been rocked by doping allegations since 2015, when whistle-blowers presented evidence of widespread doping and cover-ups going back at least to the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

The IOC is set to decide at its executive board meeting on December 5-7 whether Russia and its athletes can participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, which run from February 9 to February 25.

Based on reporting by TASS, Meduza, AP, and Reuters