The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has overturned doping bans assigned to eight cross-country skiers based on investigations into manipulation of the anti-doping process at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
“In 28 cases, the evidence collected was found to be insufficient to establish that an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV) was committed by the athletes concerned,” CAS wrote in a press release. “With respect to these 28 athletes, the appeals are upheld, the sanctions annulled and their individual results achieved in Sochi 2014 are reinstated.”
CAS did not release any information about how the arbitration panel came to its decision.
“Although the operative part of the decision is issued, the principle of confidentiality of the procedure still applies,” Legkov’s lawyer, Christof Wieschemann, wrote in a statement emailed to the media. “I assume that all parties involved will respect this. The panel has to decide in its judgment what details of the proceedings becomes subject of the reasoning of the decision and therefore will also become public. We will wait for the reasoned decisions.”
In previous cases, CAS had indicated that evidence obtained as part of the McLaren Report, an investigation into Russian doping commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, was valid at least at the level of provisional suspensions of some of the same athletes that were cleared in today’s decision.
The evidence in the McLaren report showed, for instance, that anti-doping sample bottles belonging to Legkov, Vylegzhanin, Shapovalova, and Petukhov, among others, showed marks consistent with having been tampered with. A sample belonging to Vylegzhanin also showed discrepancies in the reported specific gravity.
There was no explanation offered as to why this evidence is not valid in proving an anti-doping rule violation.
Likewise, CAS offered no explanation as to why this testimony was not sufficient to prove an anti-doping rule violation.