Vita Semerenko could become a victim of the Russian doping system

Alfred Osborne
December 6, 2017

The IOC will deliver its verdict on Russia's participation at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics on Tuesday at 7pm local time, after analyzing the findings of the IOC-sanctioned Disciplinary Commission chaired by former Swiss President Samuel Schmid.

Speaking to Yekaterina Nogerova, whose 6-year-old daughter was skating out on the ice, Lucian says that she says a decision against Russian Federation would be a "catastrophe" for her. Nogerova also said she's upset that the consequences will likely punish athletes and fans, but not people in the government.

Investigations and drug tests by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and testimony by several whistle-blowers has led to dozens of Russian athletes being banned for doping, as well as allegations that Russian officials ran a covert doping operation for its Olympic athletes from 2012 to 2015, peaking at the Sochi Olympics in 2014.

Last month, an International Olympic Committee commission led by Swiss lawyer Denis Oswald stripped a Russian cross-country skier of his gold medal from 2014 and banned him for life.

Released in two phases, the McLaren Report concluded that Russia's scheme involved more than 1,000 Russian athletes - and that it also included plans both for manipulating doping controls and for covering up the system.

It is now seen as most probable that Russian athletes will be made to compete under a neutral flag at Pyeongchang 2018, while also paying a fine to fund sport's anti-doping effort.

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Russia's ice hockey team has won gold eight times if you include the titles as the Soviet Union and as a united post-Soviet team. Earlier suggestions to perform at the Olympics without a national flag were met with criticism from Russian sports officials, including the incumbent sports minister Pavel Kolobkov. Russian President Vladimir Putin has called the doping charges against Russia "a unsafe return to this policy of letting politics interfere with sport".

"It would be unfortunate to have a boycott", Barker says.

It's likely she will ask the International Olympic Committee how it could issue a blanket ban on the Russian team when it would keep someone like her - never found to have used illegal substances and one of the top talents in her sport - from competing in the Olympics. "So that might be the compromise for those sports that are untainted".

The sanctions could be challenged at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Emphasising how central the sport of biathlon was in the nation's cheating, Rodchenkov said that Nagornykh had asked him to incriminate a Ukrainian athlete, Vita Semerenko, during a competition in Moscow leading up to the Olympics.

Russia's move into wholesale Olympic cheating is often traced to 2010, when the country's athletes fell well short of expectations by winning only 15 medals at the Vancouver Winter Olympics - a bad omen as the country prepared to host the 2014 games in Sochi. "The idea was not to punish innocent athletes for the sins of a governing body or the sins of a national government".

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