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4 more Russian skiers from Sochi busted

The Associated Press

Russian Maxim Vylegzhanin, left, poses with compatriots after they swept the men’s 50K cross-country skiing race at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

The Associated Press GENEVA (AP) — Four more Russian cross-country skiers were found guilty of doping at the 2014 Sochi Olympics on Thursday, including three-time silver medalist Maxim Vylegzhanin.

The International Olympic Committee said all four had their results disqualified and have been banned from all future Olympics.

The cases against the Russians were built on evidence of a state doping conspiracy detailed by World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren. Without positive doping tests, the IOC disciplinary panel used evidence of cover-ups and tampering of sample bottles first gathered last year by McLaren’s team.

In a notable Russian victory on Thursday, the IOC dropped a case against another athlete but declined to confirm the person’s identity “in order to protect the rights of the athlete.” Russian news agencies reported that it was figure skating gold medalist Adelina Sotnikova.

“To be honest, we expected this result from the investigation into Sotnikova because we were sure that everything would be cleared up,” Russian Figure Skating Federation president Alexander Gorshkov told the R-Sport agency.

Six Russian cross-country skiers have now been found guilty of doping at the Sochi Olympics by the IOC panel, which has at least 20 more cases to judge. The panel has not yet published detailed reasons for its verdicts after last week’s hearings in Lausanne.

Alexander Legkov, who won gold in the 50-kilometer race ahead of Vylegzhanin in a Russian sweep, and Evgeny Belov were disqualified and banned last week.

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

The other three skiers found guilty were Alexei Petukhov, Yulia Ivanova and Evgenia Shapovalova. None of them won medals.

The IOC bans leave Russia with only one medal in cross-country skiing, the bronze won by Ilya Chernousov in the 50K. The IOC will decide if he should be upgraded to gold.

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