Russia urges its athletes caught cheating to return their Olympic medals

Russian fan
A Russian fan at waves a flag during the Sochi Winter Games.
(David J. Phillip / Associated Press)

The ongoing Russian doping scandal has led Olympic officials to strip track athletes from that country of nearly two dozen medals won at past Games. But there’s a problem.

Almost none of the athletes who retroactively tested positive from the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics have returned their medals.

On Thursday, the embattled Russian track federation threatened a list of additional penalties for those who refuse to comply.

While the country’s national track team remains suspended from international events, one of the steps would effectively block individuals from the option of applying to compete as neutrals.


Still, the move might not have much practical effect because many of the athletes in question face bans for cheating. Others have retired.

So far, the track federation said, only one of 23 medals has been returned.

Officials praised sprinter Anton Kokorin for complying with International Olympic Committee rules. Kokorin was not found to have cheated in 2008 but lost his bronze medal when a teammate on the 400-meter relay squad — Denis Alekseyev — retroactively tested positive.

“Disregard for the rules of the Olympic charter and the IOC by failing to return the medals makes a negative impact on the recovery process” for the entire Russian team, the federation stated.


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