IOC 'disappointed,' decides against appeal as Olympic champion Legkov cleared of doping

IOC 'disappointed,' decides against appeal as Olympic champion Legkov cleared of doping
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has expressed “disappointment” at the Swiss Federal Court Tribunal decision to clear Russian champion skier Alexander Legkov of doping and return his 2014 Sochi Olympics medals.

An IOC press release dated Friday read: “It is with disappointment that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has been informed of the ruling by the Swiss Federal Court Tribunal rejecting the IOC appeal against the CAS decision dated 23 April 2018 regarding the Russian cross country skier Alexander Legkov."

It went on: "To protect the rights of the clean athletes, the IOC had challenged the CAS decision of 1 February 2018 to uphold the appeal of Mr Legkov against his disqualification following an anti-doping rule violation at the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014."

Legkov's alleged rule violation was announced on November 1, 2017, which precipitated his disqualification from the Games, having his records expunged, and his medals withdrawn.

However, at the beginning of February 2018, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) fully acquitted 28 of 39 Russian athletes who were suspected of anti-doping violations at the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, southern Russia, ruling there was insufficient evidence.

The IOC explained its decision to lodge an appeal against the CAS ruling as the organization "received the first reasoned decisions from CAS in late April 2018, and it was decided to appeal the first of the 28 CAS decisions that did not confirm the IOC Disciplinary Commission decisions before the Swiss Federal Tribunal.

"It was felt that, even if the chances of winning might not be high, given the specific circumstances of the cases, it was still important to appeal the cases to exhaust all possible avenues in order to protect clean athletes."

During the Games, Legkov underwent three doping tests on February 13, 21 and 23, none of which showed any trace of banned substances.

The IOC maintained that the athlete had submitted negative urine samples that were taken earlier, substituting them with probes at the time of the competition.

However, CAS resolved that these arguments did not have exact dates, places, witnesses, and most importantly, exact test tubes that were involved in the scheme, and therefore the accusations were baseless.

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The IOC emphasized that, in future, it will retain the right to take the issue to court in the event that new evidence of doping violations by Russian athletes during the Sochi Games appears.

Christof Wieschemann, Legkov's lawyer, said he was “delighted” that the proceedings against his client, which lasted more than two years, had been “successfully concluded” and that the decision was “correct”.