Russian ski racers talk doping, Winter Olympics | SteamboatToday.com

Russian ski racers talk doping, Winter Olympics

John LaConte Vail Daily

BEAVER CREEK — Russian ski racer Pavel Trikhichev said he hasn't been watching the news lately.

As the International Olympic Committee board prepares to vote on Tuesday, Dec. 5, on whether to ban Russia from February's Winter Olympics, Trikhichev on Sunday, Dec. 3, said he is more concerned with "what's actually happening now, not what will happen in two months."

Trikhichev finished 35th in the first run of the giant slalom on Sunday at the 2017 FIS Birds of Prey World Cup, a close five places shy of making it to the second run.

"I tried to go on full, but I made really a lot of mistakes," Trikhichev said. "I was so close to being in top 30, so bad luck, but I will focus for the next race."

Trikhichev's teammate, Aleksander Andrienko finished in 48th.

RUSSIANS IN ALPINE

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The International Olympic Committee's investigation started last year after World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren said Russia engaged in state-sponsored doping efforts and tampered with samples at the Sochi laboratory at the 2014 games.

The committee is currently examining 36 cases related to doping by Russia at the Sochi Olympics, and has already banned 25 athletes. None of those athletes have come from alpine skiing, a sport which Trikhichev said has been encouraging toward Russians at competitions.

"I don't know how it is in other sports, but in alpine skiing everyone is really friendly and much more together than in other sport," Trikhichev said. "Everyone is always happy when we come to the race."

Cross-country skiing, however, has been another story.

Cross-country skiers Anastasia Dotsenko and Yulia Tchekaleva were banned by the committee on Friday, Dec. 1. Before that, Alexander Legkov, Maxim Vylegzhanin, Evgeniy Belov, Alexei Petukhov, Yulia Ivanova and Evgenia Shapovalova were also banned.

Legkov was the gold-medal winner in the 50-kilometer race, where Vylegzhanin finished second. Vylegzhanin also finished second in the team sprint and the 4-by-10-kilometer relay. Their medals were stripped.

Following the Olympic committee ban, the International Ski Federation, which oversees both cross-country and alpine skiing at the World Cup level, also suspended the Russian athletes from competition.

WEEKLY DRUG TESTS

On Sunday, Andrienko said he did not believe the allegations that the doping was part of a state-sponsored conspiracy. Andrienko said this summer he was drug tested on a weekly basis by the Russian Athletic Federation.

"For this summer I had eight times doping control," he said.

Speaking from the bottom of the Birds of Prey World Cup course on Sunday, both Trikhichev and Andrienko are hopeful that Russia will be allowed to compete in the Olympics in 2018.

"Every Russian wants to go into the Olympic games, because this is life for athletes," Andrienko said. "This is sport, not political."

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