Wild Rumpus Sports

Matveeva, Kriukov, and Bessmertnykh DQ’ed from Sochi by IOC for Doping

Russian cross-country skiers Natalia Matveeva, Nikita Kriukov, and Alexander Bessmertnykh have been sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for doping violations at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

All three athletes have been competing this season, as they were not provisionally suspended by the International Ski Federation (FIS) at any point in the years-long investigation of systematic doping by Russia before and after the 2014 Olympics. Most recently, Bessmertnykh had the second-fastest classic pursuit time at the Toblach World Cup, finishing fourth on the weekend. 2010 Olympic sprint gold medalist Kriukov finished third in an early-season FIS race in Gällivare, Sweden, but hasn’t had any top results on the World Cup this season.

The same weekend, Matveeva placed second behind American skier Sophie Caldwell in an Alpen Cup sprint in Austria; she also has two top-15 World Cup sprint finishes this season.

Kriukov had already been disqualified from the team sprint in Sochi, where he had finished second with teammate Maxim Vylegzhanin, already disqualified by the IOC for doping. He is now also disqualified from the individual sprint, where he had initially finished 13th.

Likewise, Bessmertnykh was already disqualified from the men’s 4 x 10 k relay, where he and teammates had initially finished second. Alexander Legkov and Vylegzhanin had been disqualified for doping already, nullifying the result. Bessmertnykh is now also disqualified from the 15 k classic, where he had finished seventh. That bumps Germany’s Axel Teichmann up into seventh, Kazakhstan’s Alexey Poltoranin into eighth, Sweden’s Marcus Hellner into ninth, and Germany’s Hannes Dotzler into the top 10.

Matveeva is disqualified from the women’s sprint, where she finished 20th.

This brings the total number of Russian cross-country skiers banned for Sochi doping offenses to 11: Kriukov, Matveeva, Bessmertnykh, Legkov, Vylegzhanin, Julia Ivanova, Evgenia Shapovalova, Alexey Petukhov, Evgeny Belov, Anastasia Dotsenko, and Yulia Tchekaleva.

FIS now has the option to review these skiers’ cases and decide whether to disqualify them from additional events.