In interviews with the BBC and other British news agencies, Olympic women's skeleton gold medalist Lizzy Yarnold has remarked she is considering skipping this season's world championships in Russia and cited doping concerns.
Yarnold said she is also calling upon the International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation, governing body of the sport, to consider holding the competition elsewhere. Yarnold remarked she just wants the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) to be strong enough to make a decision that defends the true values of clean sport. The West Kingsdown star criticized the IBSF for not doing more to address concerns over the awarding of the event to Sochi and further commented she will head into the new World Cup circuit unconvinced that her sport is clean. Yarnold also remarked the world of sport is going through a huge upheaval and massive doping issues. She went on to comment every international sport is facing such issues and skeleton is by no means clean and that is the problem at the moment — we don't necessarily know who is doping and how to catch them.
Yarnold also said she does not want to expose herself to racing against cheaters, and in a place where she will wonder what is going to happen to her doping samples. Yarnold, who cemented her place in sporting history after winning every major title in her sport of skeleton in just 407 days, said the saddest thing is that clean athletes have been missing out on medals and titles and that really upsets her and added we will just have to wait and see what happens.
GB Bobsleigh performance director Gary Anderson echoed the concerns of Yarnold. Anderson said his team will fully review any new revelations from McLaren before deciding on a course of action. The comments of British skeleton racer, who won the 2013-14 Skeleton World Cup, were echoed by Latvian men's skeleton silver medalist Martins Dukurs and U.S. women's skeleton veteran Katie Uhlaender, who was fourth and finished behind a Russian slider.
USA Bobsled and Skeleton CEO Darrin Steele commented said he thinks athletes have been pretty vocal about possibly competing against athletes who were cheating. Steele also said it is not surprising and remarked he does not think one athlete going public is a surprise and also said he thinks there has been some pretty strong statements made, not necessarily with a call to action but from athletes in general who have pretty strong feelings about this as they should.
In June 2013, the IBSF awarded the World Championships to Sochi and the decision pre-dated announcement of the International Olympic Committee that preparations for the staging of future international winter sports events in Russia should be postponed pending the outcome of the McLaren investigation.
The International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation has shown no inclination to pursue an alternative venue. Expressing her surprise, Yarnold said she is really surprised that the IBSF have not taken a stronger stance. She commented the International Olympic Committee and the World Anti-Doping Agency have recommended the Championships are not in Russia and that is something she would stand by and support.
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