Russian Olympic champions named on Sochi doping list, report says
Sochi Olympic champions Alexander Zubkov and Alexey Voyevoda (bobsled), Alexander Legkov (cross-country skiing) and Alexander Tretiakov (skeleton) were among dozens of Russian athletes, including 15 Sochi medalists, who were on a state-run doping program leading into those Winter Games, according to The New York Times.
The names on a doping list won one-third of Russia’s leading 33 medals at the Sochi Games, according to the report. The report cited Grigory Rodchenkov, former director of a Moscow drug-testing lab that was stripped of its accreditation by the World Anti-Doping Agency in April.
A “Sochi list” of Russian athletes on a pre-Games doping program was first reported by CBS last week, based on Rodchenkov through a whistleblower who previously provided evidence of Russian track and field doping.
The CBS report said four unnamed Russian Olympic champions were among the athletes on the list.
The New York Times report named the two- and four-man bobsled champion Zubkov, the 50km cross-country skiing champion Legkov and the skeleton champion Tretiakov. Plus another bobsledder who won two gold medals. Zubkov and Voyevoda were the only bobsledders to win two golds in Sochi.
The entire Russian women’s hockey team that finished sixth and 14 Russian cross-country skiers overall were involved, according to the report.None of the athletes failed drug tests. How did they make it through Winter Games clean? From the Times:
In a dark-of-night operation, Russian antidoping experts and members of the intelligence services surreptitiously replaced urine samples tainted by performance-enhancing drugs with clean urine collected months earlier, somehow breaking into the supposedly tamper-proof bottles that are the standard at international competitions, Dr. Rodchenkov said. For hours each night, they worked in a shadow laboratory lit by a single lamp, passing bottles of urine through a hand-size hole in the wall, to be ready for testing the next day, he said.
By the end of the Games, Dr. Rodchenkov estimated, as many as 100 dirty urine samples were expunged.
Several Russian sports federations denied any wrongdoing by the athletes, according to the report.
Zubkov, Russia’s flag bearer at the Sochi Opening Ceremony, retired after sweeping the bobsled titles in Sochi as a driver. Voyevoda, a push athlete on the two- and four-man sleds, reportedly announced his retirement in 2015. American Steven Holcomb drove bobsleds that earned bronze medals behind Zubkov in the two Sochi Olympic events.
Legkov, who earned individual gold and relay silver in Sochi, continued to compete in cross-country skiing the last two seasons with no individual World Cup or World Championships wins.
Tretiakov also won silver medals at the 2015 and 2016 World Skeleton Championships. American Matthew Antoine earned bronze behind Tretiakov and Latvian Martins Dukurs at the Olympics.