Olga Zaitseva has been nominated to sit on the Russian Biathlon Union (RBU) Board, despite her disqualification from the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics for doping. The 42-year-old confirmed to Russia’s state news agency TASS that she had been put forward for the role at the troubled organization by the Biathlon Federation of Moscow head Sergey Rozhkov.
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It is an extremely contentious choice as Zaitseva was one of the athletes concerned in the McLaren Report, which exposed an orchestrated system of Russian doping and cover-ups at their home Sochi Games. The International Olympic Committee’s Oswald Commission, which investigated the scandal, ruled that she was a “knowing participant” in the doping scheme in one of the more-strongly written verdicts it delivered.
Zaitseva’s samples, it was declared, had marks indicative of tampering and were found to contain abnormal levels of salt. She was bare of the silver medal she won in the 4×6 kilometers relay together with Yana Romanova and Olga Vilukhina, with all three complicated in ongoing legal proceedings at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in a bid to reverse the decision.
“Yes, I was chosen as a candidate for the RBU by the Moscow Biathlon Alliance,” Zaitseva said to TASS.
And then the vote will choose. The RBU is due to host its Journalism and Election Conference in Khimki on July 11, where an Executive election will be held. In 2017, the International Biathlon Union (IBU) demoted the RBU to temporary member status as sentence for the country’s doping scandal.
Current RBU president Vladimir Drachev has faced pressure to quit and last month revealed that the amount of money owed to the IBU as a condition for reinstatement was likely to rise. The sum currently owed is at least €350,000, according to TASS.
Zaitseva is a double Olympic gold medalist after winning relay golds at Turin 2006 and Vancouver 2010. She also won mass start silver in Vancouver and boasts three World Championship golds. In March, the lawyer representing Zaitseva, Romanova, and Vilukhina claimed at CAS that signatures on key documents provided by whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov were fake.
Alexei Panich contended Rodchenkov’s signature was only on two of the nine documents obtainable at the hearing. Rodchenkov provided much of the evidence to the McLaren Report and his lawyer Jim Walden said in response that electronic signatures had been used in place of written ones. Zaitseva, Romanova, and Vilukhina have filed a distinct complaint against Rodchenkov, the former skull of the Moscow Anti-Doping Workroom who for his safety leftovers in an undisclosed location.
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