Revelations of Russiaâs doping schemes have compelled Olympic officials to expand their retesting of summer Olympians â which have so far resulted in sanctions against dozens of athletes â but their scrutiny has not affected many winter athletes so far.
The Association of International Olympic Winter Sports Federations cited four major competitions that had been moved out of Russia for the 2016-17 season after an outcry from athletes, including the cross-country skiing World Cup finals and the bobsled and skeleton world championships.
Accused Russian athletes have continued to participate in those competitions, the winter sports organization said, because of âthe presumption of innocence, the right to be heard and due process.â
Responding to a petition signed by more than 150 athletes, global officials for biathlon will meet in Austria on Wednesday, ahead of that sportâs world championships, to discuss the doping scandal and broader disciplinary policy. Prominent athletes, including the French biathlon champion Martin Fourcade, a winner of two gold medals at Sochi, had threatened to skip the competition unless officials addressed their concerns.
The athletes have called for stricter penalties for drug violations â including longer bans of up to eight years and higher fines of up to 1 million euros â while also asking that officials, in scrutinizing the accused Russian athletes, balance thoroughness with speed in order to preserve the integrity of this yearâs competitions.
âGiven the unprecedented and urgent nature of the current situation,â the athletes wrote, âwe do not have time to waitâ until 2018, when biathlonâs full leadership is next due to convene formally.
The biathlon officials are also expected to vote this week on moving the 2021 world championships out of Russia. The competition was assigned to the nation in the fall, after the International Olympic Committee had expressly directed sports officials not to award new events to Russia in light of the doping scandal.
Should the biathlon officials decline to move the event, the World Anti-Doping Agency could impose a penalty, possibly threatening the sportâs place at the 2018 Winter Olympics, in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Russiaâs national team itself could face disciplinary action ahead of the 2018 Games, something some antidoping officials have called a parallel punishment for systemic cheating at the last Winter Olympics.
As Olympic officials review the evidence delivered late last year by the World Anti-Doping Agency and an independent investigator, the Canadian lawyer Richard H. McLaren, they are considering not just the individual cases across sports but what collective punishment may be warranted in light of…