Doping in XC skiing

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The general feeling appears to be that Loginov was treated unfairly - no wait the exact opposite is true! He is a totally unrepenting doper that seems to be unanimously disliked (except by yourself).

To summarise the basis of the raid as a simple "accreditation" problem is simplistic and likely only a small part of the real justification. Time will tell. And why would Loginov's coach be using someone elses's accreditation if that is the case?
"Unanimously disliked." Here in the forum? In general? Who are you to speak for everyone? Have you met the guy? I haven't. I don't have an opinion on him one way or another. According to the rules, he broke the rules, he was caught and handed the usual ban for doping. He is back. Do I make the rules?

You again went out of your way to attack me by assuming because I don't share your opinion that I am liking someone that got caught doping. I don't dislike or like the guy. He is someone I will likely never meet. I don't have an opinion on him, I am simply writing on the situation in general. How many comments have I made over the years that specifically show that I 'like' him?

The raid was urged by Sarah Fussek, an interim official at the IBU, someone who was dismissed of her duties over at FIS.

The first round of the 'search' found nothing. Likely more searches to follow. Let's to see what happens. I know some like to throw the baby out with the bathwater but that's not how things work (or should work).

The Russians are so doped that they can't touch the Norwegians or French, actually nobody can.

Where were the rest of the Russians? Nowhere in sight in terms of ski speed. Loginov was solid all week, but still beaten by good margins by the French and Norwegians.

According to this WADA report, more French athletes were caught doping in 2017 than Russians.


Never did I say that the Russians are or were clean, just stating how there is a concerted effort to go after the Russian team. Why? After the last few years, don't you think the Russians are the most tested in sports like Biathlon and XC skiing?

Why aren't there raids on other teams at 6 in the morning, the day of one of the biggest races in the biggest week of the year?
 
"Unanimously disliked." Here in the forum? In general? Who are you to speak for everyone? Have you met the guy? I haven't. I don't have an opinion on him one way or another. According to the rules, he broke the rules, he was caught and handed the usual ban for doping. He is back. Do I make the rules?

You again went out of your way to attack me by assuming because I don't share your opinion that I am liking someone that got caught doping. I don't dislike or like the guy. He is someone I will likely never meet. I don't have an opinion on him, I am simply writing on the situation in general. How many comments have I made over the years that specifically show that I 'like' him?

The raid was urged by Sarah Fussek, an interim official at the IBU, someone who was dismissed of her duties over at FIS.

The first round of the 'search' found nothing. Likely more searches to follow. Let's to see what happens. I know some like to throw the baby out with the bathwater but that's not how things work (or should work).

The Russians are so doped that they can't touch the Norwegians or French, actually nobody can.

Where were the rest of the Russians? Nowhere in sight in terms of ski speed. Loginov was solid all week, but still beaten by good margins by the French and Norwegians.

According to this WADA report, more French athletes were caught doping in 2017 than Russians.


Never did I say that the Russians are or were clean, just stating how there is a concerted effort to go after the Russian team. Why? After the last few years, don't you think the Russians are the most tested in sports like Biathlon and XC skiing?

Why aren't there raids on other teams at 6 in the morning, the day of one of the biggest races in the biggest week of the year?
First of all, I don't think I "attacked" you in any way. I don't agree that the Russians are treated unfairly, there are enough recent doping scandals that, for me, justify continued vigilance. We don’t know much about what led to the raid, why not wait for more information before assuming it was unwarranted.

Of course there are French athletes that dope, I have never suggested the opposite. Some of them are quite despicable (Clémence Calvin) or ridiculous (Ophelie Claude Boxberger) and I don't have any more empathy for them than I do for Loginov. The very fact that more French athletes have been caught doping than Russians would tend to indicate that the Russians are not unfairly targeted.

Having the impression that certain Russian athletes dope doesn't keep me from having doubts about athletes from other nations. Johaug reminds me of Geneviève Jeanson, and we know how that turned out. She has already been suspended for doping, proving that even the mighty Norwegians are not exempt from the anti-doping authorities.

The communities that make up high level sports are very close, these athletes and support staff spend a lot of time together. It is unusual to see athletes express their dislike of a fellow competitor like they do with Loginov. Why is this? Maybe he is just an unlikable character. He says he has never doped (despite being tested positive) and will someday tell the story. Russia is a complicated country and maybe he fears repercussions for speaking out but as long as he doesn’t he will have trouble being believed.
 
First of all, I don't think I "attacked" you in any way. I don't agree that the Russians are treated unfairly, there are enough recent doping scandals that, for me, justify continued vigilance. We don’t know much about what led to the raid, why not wait for more information before assuming it was unwarranted.

Of course there are French athletes that dope, I have never suggested the opposite. Some of them are quite despicable (Clémence Calvin) or ridiculous (Ophelie Claude Boxberger) and I don't have any more empathy for them than I do for Loginov. The very fact that more French athletes have been caught doping than Russians would tend to indicate that the Russians are not unfairly targeted.

Having the impression that certain Russian athletes dope doesn't keep me from having doubts about athletes from other nations. Johaug reminds me of Geneviève Jeanson, and we know how that turned out. She has already been suspended for doping, proving that even the mighty Norwegians are not exempt from the anti-doping authorities.

The communities that make up high level sports are very close, these athletes and support staff spend a lot of time together. It is unusual to see athletes express their dislike of a fellow competitor like they do with Loginov. Why is this? Maybe he is just an unlikable character. He says he has never doped (despite being tested positive) and will someday tell the story. Russia is a complicated country and maybe he fears repercussions for speaking out but as long as he doesn’t he will have trouble being believed.
Why is Loginov the only one that should apologize? Did Herrmann apologize for her doping? Did Sachenbacher apologize for hers? Did Johaug? Did Sundby? Did the Austrians? Did the Finns? Did the Norwegians apologize for doping their juniors in 2015 and 2016 world juniors? Did they apologize for giving asthma meds to those that don’t have asthma? Did USADA or USOC apologize for their giving out TUE’s to so many athletes so easily? Did the USOC apologize for putting away hundreds of dirty samples from the late 80’s to early 2000’s? Did Virenque apologize? Did Jalabert apologize?

Again I ask, because you didn’t provide any sources, who are these athletes that dislike Loginov?
 
Of course there are French athletes that dope, I have never suggested the opposite. Some of them are quite despicable (Clémence Calvin) or ridiculous (Ophelie Claude Boxberger) and I don't have any more empathy for them than I do for Loginov. The very fact that more French athletes have been caught doping than Russians would tend to indicate that the Russians are not unfairly targeted.
Maybe not literally speaking, as in by the anti-doping authorities, but would you not agree that the Russians get a much harsher ride from the global press for doping than the French? And therefore, if there are in fact more French athletes testing positive than Russians, that the perception of Russian athletes as being more likely to dope compared to French athletes, which is propagated throughout the media, is unfair? Without knowing sample size and number of tests (and also what the positive is for, it's a lot easier to spin a narrative about something like salbutamol or clostebol than EPO, for example) it is hard to judge, of course, but those facts taken together certainly speaks to there being more noise surrounding Russian positives than corresponding positives from other nations.

I know that it has been mentioned that Loginov speaks some English and doesn't use it, which makes him harder to warm to. However, maybe he just doesn't feel comfortable expressing himself in English on the subjects that he is going to face. He has largely tried to remain dignified in the face of extreme provocation aroound the subject, with the occasional loss of patience around it. After all, he's now been back in the game for twice as long as he was suspended for, and it is still the only thing anybody outside of the CIS wants him to talk about. The IBU has a languages tracker so athletes can hold press conferences in the languages they are comfortable with doing their interviews in, and many of the Russians - especially those from east of the Urals - choose to hold the press conferences in Russian alone. Some, like Olga Zaitseva and Ekaterina Yurlova-Percht, are more comfortable with their grasp of English (and it is perhaps notable that when the IBU have done their little fun videos with Q&As or the Bond spoof they did a few years ago, these are the most prominent Russians to appear in them, as well as Katya being a popular face at the show events too).

Of the Russians on the World Cup right now, you have Matvey Eliseev, Tamara Voronina (now back in Russia after relegation from the Cup), Ekaterina Yurlova-Percht, Dmitry Malyshko, Saïd Karimulla Khalili and Anton Babikov who list English alongside Russian as an interview language (I've never seen Malyshko interviewed and Voronina has never got to a press conference). Voronina is the only one from east of the Urals (from Ekaterinburg) and most are from St Petersburg or Moscow. Evgeny Garanichev, Nikita Porshnev, Irina Starykh, Kristina Reztsova, Anastasia Porshneva and Kirill Streltsov list Russian only. Svetlana Mironova, Eduard Latypov, Larisa Kuklina, Evgeniya Pavlova and Viktoria Slivko don't appear to have listed any languages at all, the only one of these to make it to an IBU post-race press conference is Mironova, and she conducted her interview in Russian although she appeared to be able to communicate amicably with Wierer (lists Italian, German and English) and Tandrevold (lists Norwegian and English) on the podium and when not answering to the microphone which suggests she must have some cursory English at least.
 
If the Russians are treated "unfairly" by the press, doping authorities or the average sports fan it could have something to do with their anti-doping lab cheating on a major scale and blatent manipulation of data during investigations into said cheating. Not to mention state participation at the highest levels in promoting and covering up. The problem is that athletes coming out of this system, even if clean, are tainted by the rather mind-boggling extent of the overall doping infrastructure. Fair or not? That is a difficult question to answer.

To answer the question of who in the biathlon community is critical of Loginov, the Boe brothers led the way after his sprint victory. Fourcade simply stated that we know what he thinks about the subject - which says it all. Maybe it's unfair to extropolate to say that he is widely disliked, but that is what is relayed by the press.

The fact he didn't speak to the press (except imposed press conference) after his victory wasn't appreciated, but apparently it was on instructions from the Russian federation. I will state again that if he owned up to his previous doping, or gave the explanation he says would exonerate him, I think there is a chance he would gain more respect from his competitors and others. I am not sure the English problem is a major excuse, the French are generally horrible at English yet make an effort because that is part of the deal.

As to the "what about" arguments, every case has its legitimacy and it is false to say that only the Russians are pointed out. You only have to look at the list of threads in the clinic to see this.
 
If the Russians are treated "unfairly" by the press, doping authorities or the average sports fan it could have something to do with their anti-doping lab cheating on a major scale and blatent manipulation of data during investigations into said cheating. Not to mention state participation at the highest levels in promoting and covering up. The problem is that athletes coming out of this system, even if clean, are tainted by the rather mind-boggling extent of the overall doping infrastructure. Fair or not? That is a difficult question to answer.

To answer the question of who in the biathlon community is critical of Loginov, the Boe brothers led the way after his sprint victory. Fourcade simply stated that we know what he thinks about the subject - which says it all. Maybe it's unfair to extropolate to say that he is widely disliked, but that is what is relayed by the press.

The fact he didn't speak to the press (except imposed press conference) after his victory wasn't appreciated, but apparently it was on instructions from the Russian federation. I will state again that if he owned up to his previous doping, or gave the explanation he says would exonerate him, I think there is a chance he would gain more respect from his competitors and others. I am not sure the English problem is a major excuse, the French are generally horrible at English yet make an effort because that is part of the deal.

As to the "what about" arguments, every case has its legitimacy and it is false to say that only the Russians are pointed out. You only have to look at the list of threads in the clinic to see this.
I don't think it's necessarily unfair that the Russians come under suspicion. And while it's easy to dismiss whataboutism, there's also a reason for it. If the statistics report more positive tests for other nations than the Russians yet all the public stories are about the Russians, then it's not surprising if they circle the wagons. The fiasco that was the addition of meldonium to the banned list before sufficient analysis had been done into its half-life etc. resulting in loads of false positives or inconclusive tests will certainly have added fuel to that fire.

And while the clinic may know no national boundaries, you are similarly saying that you extrapolate that he is widely disliked from what the press relay, but also that he didn't speak to the press. And it is the press, not the Clinic or even WADA, that I am saying are happy to push the narrative of doping being something that's done by those dastardly Russians. Their biggest problem is that they don't outsource the doping but had (have?) continued to centralise it which makes the state-sponsored doping story far more insidious than, say, the Oregon Project which is de facto US-supported doping but the US authorities have enough separation from it.

And don't you think, specifically on Loginov, there's a bit of a vicious circle here? I mean, there was a conscious attempt when he came back from his suspension to keep him out of trouble. Ricco Groß tried to avoid bringing him to the World Cup, but pressure from the Tyumen' governor (who is high up in the SBR and whose team Loginov represents) combined with his results being embarrassingly easy victories in Russia and in the IBU Cup meant he moved up. Fourcade raised some animosity by taking exception on social media to the SBR having the gall, the temerity, the bare-faced CHEEK to wish him a happy birthday without pointing out he was a doper, and then the two clashed in the Mixed Relay at the World Championships. So the story is definitely there, but for the most part he has competed without incident for four years. He's steered clear of controversy as much as possible, and most athletes have either been diplomatic or pragmatic about his presence and tried to avoid raising too much controversy. But the press continue to raise the subject. And if the press continue to raise the subject, Loginov gets fed up of them, and then he's not being friendly to the media, so the story of him being distant and unfriendly continues.

His leaving early from the World Championships and not starting the Mass Start is not a good look citing mental disruption surrounding the raids, though.
 
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Loginov basically single-handedly saved the championships for Russia. No-one else was even anywhere near medals. He has threatened to end his career completely following the raid and didn't start the mass-start out of frustration. So let's see, what will happen. If Loginov quits, that would be a huge blow to Russian biathlon.
 
If the Russians are treated "unfairly" by the press, doping authorities or the average sports fan it could have something to do with their anti-doping lab cheating on a major scale and blatent manipulation of data during investigations into said cheating. Not to mention state participation at the highest levels in promoting and covering up. The problem is that athletes coming out of this system, even if clean, are tainted by the rather mind-boggling extent of the overall doping infrastructure. Fair or not? That is a difficult question to answer.

To answer the question of who in the biathlon community is critical of Loginov, the Boe brothers led the way after his sprint victory. Fourcade simply stated that we know what he thinks about the subject - which says it all. Maybe it's unfair to extropolate to say that he is widely disliked, but that is what is relayed by the press.

The fact he didn't speak to the press (except imposed press conference) after his victory wasn't appreciated, but apparently it was on instructions from the Russian federation. I will state again that if he owned up to his previous doping, or gave the explanation he says would exonerate him, I think there is a chance he would gain more respect from his competitors and others. I am not sure the English problem is a major excuse, the French are generally horrible at English yet make an effort because that is part of the deal.

As to the "what about" arguments, every case has its legitimacy and it is false to say that only the Russians are pointed out. You only have to look at the list of threads in the clinic to see this.

You keep parroting the same thing. So the Boe brothers and Fourcade spoke out. Great. Then you say maybe it's unfair to say that he is widely disliked...then why did you say it?

So he didn't speak to the press, but the press are the ones pushing for this subject. It sounds to me like the press are the ones forcing others to talk. Nobody should be forced to talk to the press, if they don't want to, especially when they are not part of a press conference.

You again are not happy that he hasn't apologized or explained what, why, when, who...I don't understand what's in it for you? Who should he apologize to? To you? Did you put money on him in some races and he lost you that money? Should he apologize to the Boe brothers and the French, who have suspiciously dominated the last few seasons?

There's no whataboutism, it's cynical behavior on the part of the IBU and those that are brainwashed by the political games that have gone on in the last few years.

I also don't remember any 'state sponsored doping' that was ever confirmed in any of the investigations over the past few years. Athletes like Shipulin, Sergey Ustiugov, Ahn, Retyvikh, etc didn't get a chance to fight for medals in Korea because they took part in Sochi. Yet people like Herrmann and Sundby got to go even though they actually failed doping tests.

You say that the problem of doping isn't only Russian and that you don't deny it, yet you predominantly target the Russians and continue to say that Loginov needs to apologize to gain respect.
 
I don't think it's necessarily unfair that the Russians come under suspicion. And while it's easy to dismiss whataboutism, there's also a reason for it. If the statistics report more positive tests for other nations than the Russians yet all the public stories are about the Russians, then it's not surprising if they circle the wagons. The fiasco that was the addition of meldonium to the banned list before sufficient analysis had been done into its half-life etc. resulting in loads of false positives or inconclusive tests will certainly have added fuel to that fire.

And while the clinic may know no national boundaries, you are similarly saying that you extrapolate that he is widely disliked from what the press relay, but also that he didn't speak to the press. And it is the press, not the Clinic or even WADA, that I am saying are happy to push the narrative of doping being something that's done by those dastardly Russians. Their biggest problem is that they don't outsource the doping but had (have?) continued to centralise it which makes the state-sponsored doping story far more insidious than, say, the Oregon Project which is de facto US-supported doping but the US authorities have enough separation from it.

And don't you think, specifically on Loginov, there's a bit of a vicious circle here? I mean, there was a conscious attempt when he came back from his suspension to keep him out of trouble. Ricco Groß tried to avoid bringing him to the World Cup, but pressure from the Tyumen' governor (who is high up in the SBR and whose team Loginov represents) combined with his results being embarrassingly easy victories in Russia and in the IBU Cup meant he moved up. Fourcade raised some animosity by taking exception on social media to the SBR having the gall, the temerity, the bare-faced CHEEK to wish him a happy birthday without pointing out he was a doper, and then the two clashed in the Mixed Relay at the World Championships. So the story is definitely there, but for the most part he has competed without incident for four years. He's steered clear of controversy as much as possible, and most athletes have either been diplomatic or pragmatic about his presence and tried to avoid raising too much controversy. But the press continue to raise the subject. And if the press continue to raise the subject, Loginov gets fed up of them, and then he's not being friendly to the media, so the story of him being distant and unfriendly continues.

His leaving early from the World Championships and not starting the Mass Start is not a good look citing mental disruption surrounding the raids, though.
Exactly. If he talks to the press, they are not happy with the answers he gives them. If he doesn't talk to them, they are not happy that he doesn't talk to them.

I think the German coaches that the Russians had, like Groß and Pichler were very good for them and they were happy to assist, to speak on behalf of the athletes and to be fair and to protect the athletes (without looking like homers or cheerleaders). It's a pity that neither of those was kept for a longer time. Neither Groß nor Pichler have said that they saw anything suspicious in the team during their times as coaches, and they said this not only while they were coaching the Russians but also once they left, and Pichler especially was very vocal 10-12 years ago. Pichler was the head women's coach from 2011-2014. The Vilukhina was stripped of the silver medal in the sprint and the relay, while Pichler was the coach. Pichler has repeatedly said that if he knew that one of his athletes was/were doping, he would have spoken out and would have alerted the federation, IBU and anti-doping authorities.

Loginov was caught back in 2013. He served his suspension and he's been back since the start of the the 2016/2017 season. The only time crybabies like Fourcade and the Boe brothers say anything is when Loginov beats them and when he wins a race.
 
Loginov basically single-handedly saved the championships for Russia. No-one else was even anywhere near medals. He has threatened to end his career completely following the raid and didn't start the mass-start out of frustration. So let's see, what will happen. If Loginov quits, that would be a huge blow to Russian biathlon.
Yeah I saw the same thing. To be fair, doping or not, the Russian coaches seem like they are very inept. They have overtrained top talents like Mironova (can't even ski among the top 20-30 after battling for podiums early on) and completely messed up everyone else as well. Also not putting in youngsters like Khalili while still promoting guys like Garannichev hasn't gone well. Considering their form since the pre-Christmas races, it's not surprising that they haven't done well, they've done about as well as they have for much of the season apart from the first month when Loginov, Eliseev, Mironova and the relay teams did well to get on the podium.

Loginov may well quit. I do think they have some talented biathletes on that team now but again, the coaching staff likely needs to be changed after this season is done.
 
".....yet all the public stories are about the Russians,"

Totally true, at least if you don't take into account all the doping stories that aren't about the Russians. In the French press recently there have been multiple reports on Calvin and Claude Boxberger. And the doping saga at the Seefeld x-country worlds last year - nary a Russian implicated I don't think. I saw an update on this just the other day. But of course those who want to victimise the Russians don't appear to want to recognise this.

OK, you guys win - after all that appears to be your objective.
 
I can't speak for Libertine, but having been a part of this forum since its inception back in 2010, I think I can safely say that Libertine is one of the most neutral and well versed people on this forum. He/she almost always gives out reasons, facts and backs up his/her claims.

Neither of us is being objective. We simply state what we hear or read, and all I see is vitriol towards the Russians, even when there is no need. Now you can say, well he brought it on himself because he doped and was caught, fair enough. He doped and was caught. He served his suspension and is back on the tour. I don't understand the problem. What else was he supposed to do? Some athletes (no matter their nationality), come back and compete some do simply retire. Maybe he'll be caught again if he dopes/d again. Maybe he won't. But he is damned if he does and he's damned if he doesn't. If he doesn't have a good result, they'll say, 'well he's nothing without doping,' and if he does well, as he did in the sprint and pursuit, 'well, he must be doping again...' so the critics are creating polemics.

And I find it interesting how only Russian samples from 5-6 years ago are being retested. Why aren't other samples from other countries being retested? If there are athletes using banned substances 'legally' through TUE's, don't you think those should all be made public so that we can have a truly pragmatic and open process?
 
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".....yet all the public stories are about the Russians,"

Totally true, at least if you don't take into account all the doping stories that aren't about the Russians. In the French press recently there have been multiple reports on Calvin and Claude Boxberger. And the doping saga at the Seefeld x-country worlds last year - nary a Russian implicated I don't think. I saw an update on this just the other day. But of course those who want to victimise the Russians don't appear to want to recognise this.

OK, you guys win - after all that appears to be your objective.

The news on Calvin and Claude Boxberger I googled and virtually all the news are from French sites. Where is the always anti-doping German state sponsored TV like ARD and ZDF? Why aren't NRK and VG reporting on it? Where is Travis Tygart to tell us all how bad doping is and how dopers need to get a lifetime ban? There's not even a wikipedia page for those two individuals. It's the first time I've seen their names.
 
Exactly. If he talks to the press, they are not happy with the answers he gives them. If he doesn't talk to them, they are not happy that he doesn't talk to them.

I think the German coaches that the Russians had, like Groß and Pichler were very good for them and they were happy to assist, to speak on behalf of the athletes and to be fair and to protect the athletes (without looking like homers or cheerleaders). It's a pity that neither of those was kept for a longer time. Neither Groß nor Pichler have said that they saw anything suspicious in the team during their times as coaches, and they said this not only while they were coaching the Russians but also once they left, and Pichler especially was very vocal 10-12 years ago. Pichler was the head women's coach from 2011-2014. The Vilukhina was stripped of the silver medal in the sprint and the relay, while Pichler was the coach. Pichler has repeatedly said that if he knew that one of his athletes was/were doping, he would have spoken out and would have alerted the federation, IBU and anti-doping authorities.

Loginov was caught back in 2013. He served his suspension and he's been back since the start of the the 2016/2017 season. The only time crybabies like Fourcade and the Boe brothers say anything is when Loginov beats them and when he wins a race.
I'm not sure about Groß, but for Pichler the writing was on the wall when they started creating the 'alternative team' for the Olympics based around the Romanova/Starykh group and moved Vilukhina from his group into that one. Whatever Pichler may or may not know is a question for another time, I think he was a victim of the politics around Russian biathlon and was squeezed out because his methods and intentions were not popular. He has thrived on isolating talent young and pushing it through the system, as he has been doing in Sweden recently with the Öberg sisters.

But in Russia, especially a Russia building up to a home Olympics, there was never even a thought of accepting some washout results now to reap benefits later. Athletes who didn't score strong points were to be axed. He saw the 2013 Junior World Championships, where a Russian youth trio of Kaisheva, Mironova and Slivko laid waste to all comers, with Kaisheva in particular being dominant, having already gone big and competed on a level with Preuß and Dahlmeier in the Youth Olympics, and asked if he could have her in his training group with the World Cup squad, because he saw real potential in her. He was told that juniors would train with juniors, and had no place in the elite team, now please concentrate on getting Ekaterina Shumilova World Championships ready plzkthx. The mishandling of talents has been a major problem for Russian biathlon for several years now, and a lot of the problem is competing bureaucrats trying to put forward their regions' talent for prestige purposes. There was a huge furore pre-season when the team whittled down its 50 or so athletes per gender from camp to around 20 who would compete for the national team, with the rest returning to their regions; various regional bosses protested and insisted their talents be included. The problem was: lots of them were preparing their athletes to peak for those selection races, so they could get the prestige, whereas the main team coaches wanted their athletes to peak for the actual World Cup season, so of course they'd do worse as against peaking athletes!

This cycle of selection races has been a disaster for the team as it has prioritised mediocre athletes with experience in the selection races over younger prospects who aren't peaking and could do better outside of them. Athletes are shifted between levels and forced to race during periods others are undertaking competition breaks. Tatiana Akimova was run into the ground and hasn't come back from a baby break, while Olga Podchufarova has retired young from overtraining. Evgeniya Pavlova didn't even get to the World Cup until 25, and was then worked into the ground in a single season. Kaisheva and, after her, Mironova, have been bounced from training group to training group and through the levels for 3-4 years before they finally get an extended run in the team, and even then, just after they start to show flashes of what they're capable of they get run into the ground.

The other problem with the cycle of selection races is that the relentless battle royale around selection is an environment which fosters the possibility of doping even outside the central core of the team. I readily believe that Ekaterina Iourieva, the second time around, was not involved in the centralised doping. She wasn't in the McLaren docs if I remember rightly. She was just somebody who was in last chance saloon on the fringes of the team and prepared to do what it took. And, it also has an impact on the coaches. Vitaly Noritsyn trained the women in 2016-7 when Akimova was successful, and then was replaced due to disappointing results by Konovalov. He threw out a bunch of athletes who went well under Noritsyn like Kaisheva, bringing in shooting specialists, but in turn was jettisoned after a year due to poor results and, because the IBU Cup team was doing well and athletes like Kaisheva were developing well, the IBU Cup coach took over. His name? Vitaly Noritsyn. He kept his job for more than a year thanks to some good results especially from World Cup débutantes and younger prospects like Pavlova and Mironova getting them their 6th starter back (later lost due to Nations Cup points gained by Vasileva, who is suspended for ADAMS violations), but he's now up for the chop, and who's proposed as his replacement? IBU Cup coach Konovalov.

This is the problem for them: there's too much meddling from above. The IBU Cup coaches tend to fare better because they can get on with improving the athletes they have at their disposal. The World Cup coaches are not just pressured to get results, and also to get them from the right people. At Sochi, there was clearly some internalised, institutionalised doping. That much is undisputable. I find it interesting how most of the samples remained for the women but were all missing for the more successful men's team, definitely. But the current set-up is too siloed, too broken up into too many small isolated segments, for me. I don't think there's institutionalised doping in the team at present - but I think the structure is also likely too fragmented for there to be sufficient control either. Compared to Norway, Germany or France, where there is very much an extended national team and the national calendar is largely targeted at developing young athletes and will come via intermediary steps of competing in a quasi national team in the junior events or the Alpencup, the Kubok Rossii is almost a legit professional minor league, with athletes of all ages, lots of veterans and various teams competing not as a grounds for development, but competing to win. Which may entail taking shortcuts to do so, especially for older athletes who aren't likely to compete internationally and who need the paycheck.

You would never see the Russians do what Germany did with Neuner, Gössner, Dahlmeier, Preuß, Weidel or Riethmüller, entering them as juniors when still youth-qualified at the Junior World Championships, to see how they fare against the next level up, but without pressure of expectation. The Russians would be entering those youths with the express purpose of winning medals against the youth field. You would never see the Russians do what France did with Braisaz, letting her compete at the World Cup for a season and a half using up a World Cup entry spot with no concern of where she finishes, letting her withdraw from pursuits if tired after the sprint, holding her out of relays and so on. All this means is a litany of Russian supertalents who went nowhere, and have lots of experience beating up on the lower levels but are outclassed at the higher level. The World Cup is a step up from the IBU Cup pace-wise, and even those athletes that do adjust often take a few races. But with the trigger-happy Russian selectors, you don't have a few races to adapt before somebody else is burning up the IBU Cup so you need ot make way for them. This definitely fosters an environment that encourages the use of doping to first gain a place and then retain it. The history of Russian biathlon is littered with dopers, and it is littered with victims of politics. Many fall under both headings.
 
Good points. This is why youngsters like Khalili and Reztsova weren't given a start, even though they likely deserved at least one start, particularly in the relays. Giving starts to past-their-prime athletes like Garannichev goes with what you said. I wouldn't have been shocked to see Malyshko getting a start, as he was towed around in wc races that he had no business being in as his results have declined, doping or not.

Back to the specific topic of doping, my point has always been that there is little to no chance that people at the top of the sport can race clean and win clean, especially not on a regular basis, if those below them are doping. I cannot see a way in which JT Boe is clean when his main competitor in the junior/youth ranks, Loginov, was caught doping. Both have won events as seniors and Boe has been dominant for a few seasons now, going back and forth with Fourcade, and in the last two seasons, overtaking the Frenchman as top man. Why should we believe that he is clean, if he's consistently beating someone like Loginov, who has failed a doping test and been suspended, someone that was his rival years ago?
 
Jan 7, 2019
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Back to the specific topic of doping, my point has always been that there is little to no chance that people at the top of the sport can race clean and win clean, especially not on a regular basis, if those below them are doping.
I suspect that too. Even though there is no way to prove it, but I have grown cynical enough over the years. I can't trust any of them, lol.

The key matter in my view isn't so much about doping itself, but about finances and team support system each athlete has. I don't think athletes in top teams "do it on their own". It has too big of a risk of failure. I doubt athletes are really specialists in the details of performance enhancing drugs. That's what the medical team is for. Top teams have hired all kinds of specialists, who know how to operate in the medical world. Nothing happens without their prescriptions. And they are so smart that top teams basically never get caught. For that to happen somebody has to make a big mistake somewhere (i.e Finland 2001).

Those, who get caught, are often outsiders, who don't have that support system, perhaps don't really know that well about doping, and take a big risk on their own.
 
Great post by LS, that describes the inner workings of the Russian team.
I've heard even Walter Freaking Mayer talking about how it's often the regional teams/athletes on those team who go full crazy at the selection races, only to get caught when they compete at the highest level.
 
I would like to clear up a few points.

First of all, it appears that the French press is not as into Russia bashing as in other countries. In the general press as well as the sports press, most reporting on doping concerns French athletes, while covering international doping events as they occur but I have never sensed a bias against the Russians and certainly not blind belief that French athletes don't dope. I follow x-country and biathlon news on 2 French sites, ski-nordique.net which I suspected BullsFan22 ran as they systematiclly defend the Russian skiers as unfairly treated. Nordicmag.info never takes a position on doping. Their coverage of the Loginov incident was limited, factual and if anything favorable to him. On the other hand, there has been extensive coverage of the Cléménce Calvin situation, including numerous reports on Stade2 that are extremely critical of her and her entourage. The has also been extensive coverage of the Ophélie Claude Boxberger case, which is more like a trash novel than anything else.

Secondly, I tend to share BullsFan22's cynical attitude that doping is prevalent at the top levels, and I am often doubtful when a performance seems too good to be true. I certainly dont think it is only the Russians who dope, au contraire. But I also don't think the Russian athletes are victims - that is my personal opinion even if some don't agree.

I also believe, as has been pointed out above, that there is a huge disparity of resources that make it difficult for many countries to compete on an equal basis. Norway is an extremely rich country - not only do they have a tradition and culture around skiing they also have the financial means to be in a position to dominate. France has the means, what is missing is the ski culture. Russia and Eastern European nations can't compete in terms of resources so are at a disadvantage from the start. Life isn't always fair.
 
I think we can all agree that the Russian biathlon team is highly dysfunctional, more doping, less doping, no doping, doesn't matter, they won't fix their problems, at least not entirely, unless they get rid of people like Drachev. I think Libertine did a very good job of drawing things out.

They weren't really competitive. Loginov got them two medals. Yurlova-Percht did well in her races and there was decent showing in the men's individual. Loginov may have gotten another medal in the mass start had he raced due to his good form, but expecting medals from others at this time would be reaching for a goal far away. Yurlova-Percht needed to shoot exceptionally well, almost or basically clean, to win a medal in the individual and mass start, and she was contending for the medals until the last part, where she couldn't quite hit all her targets and she was never going to outski everyone.
 
Sep 10, 2020
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How can people win clean while those below them are doping?

Nth exhibit (you can run through a translator of your choice)

https://betonmobile.ru/bonusyi-pari-match

Basically Hovantsev messed up the relay order

It's a highly dysfunctional environment and given the things that come out they should not be anywhere close to being competitive
I think that many see Russian as the strongest athletes, therefore they are accused of doping. Trying to remove strong competitors, that's mean and low
 
How can people win clean while those below them are doping?

Nth exhibit (you can run through a translator of your choice)

https://www.sports.ru/biathlon/1083725683.html

Basically Hovantsev messed up the relay order

It's a highly dysfunctional environment and given the things that come out they should not be anywhere close to being competitive
Well, if one country only gets second rate talent into a sport and these not so talented people dope, they might very well get beaten by more talented clean athletes. Many people also forget that in skiing the equipment plays a big role in getting results. In most competing countries the national cross country championship is a small show only for the insiders, with few top athletes. In Norway, all these races go live on TV, there are probably a 100 men at an elite level competing, and we have this as a national sport which gets on the front page every day during winter.
Human know how and resources, good trainers and experience spread out over large parts of a country, will give a great base for good results.
 
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