24 Sep 2020
CAS 2017/A/5444 Olga Zaytseva v. International Olympic Committee (IOC)
IOC 2017 IOC vs Olga Zaytseva - Decision
December 22, 2017
IOC 2017 IOC vs Olga Zaytseva - Operative Part
November 27, 2017
Two reports commissioned by WADA, published by Prof. Richard McLaren as Independent Person (IP) on 18 July 2016 and 9 December 2016, showed detailed evidences of organised manipulation of some Russian samples collected during the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. The IP reports describe how urine bottles were opened and urine was switched with clean modified urine coming from a “biobank”, and how urine density had to be adjusted to match that recorded on the doping control form (if different at the time of collection) by adding salt to the sample.
As a result of the McLaren Reports the IOC Oswald Commission started investigations in order to establish the possible liability of individual athletes and to issue any sanctions so that decisions could be taken as far in advance of the 2018 Winter Games as possible. At the same time the IOC Schmid Commission started their investigations to establish the facts on the basis of documented, independent and impartial evidence.
All the samples of all Russian athletes who participated in Sochi were re-analysed. The re-analysis establish whether there was doping or whether the samples themselves were manipulated. The findings in the IP Reports were considered in detail and both Commissions conclude that samples or urine collected from Russian Athletes were tampered with in Sochi in a systematic manner and as part of an organized scheme. The Commissions further conclude that it was not possible that the athletes were not fully implicated. They were also the main beneficiaries of the scheme.
The IOC Commissions find that Prof. McLaren’s findings are not only based on the evidence provided by Dr Rodchenkov in his interviews, but on a wealth of other corroborating evidence, including other witnesses, the forensic examination of the sample bottles, the evidence showing abnormal salt results and the additional elements coming from DNA analysis. The corroborating evidence considered by Prof. McLaren included further objective elements, such as e-mails confirming that athletes were protected through different methods.
Olga Zaytseva is a Russian Athlete competing in the Women's Biathlon Events at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
In October 2017 the IOC Disciplinary Commission has reported multiple anti-doping rule violations against the Athlete for tampering, conspiracy and use of prohibited substances.
Consequently the IOC Disciplinary Commission decided on 22 December 2017 to declare Olga Zaytseva ineligible to be accredited in any capacity for all editions of the Games of the Olympiad and the Olympic Winter Games subsequent to the Sochi Olympic Winter Games. Further the Commission disqualified the Athlete and her team from the events at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games including forfeiture of any medal, diploma, medallist pin, points and prizes.
In December 2017 the Athlete Olga Zaytseva appealed the IOC decision with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). In January 2018 the appeals of the Athlete Olga Zaytseva together with the appeals of the Athletes Olga Vilukhina (CAS 2017/A/5434 and Yana Romanova (CAS 2017/A/5435) were stayed until reasoned awards were issued by the CAS in the cases:
- CAS 2017_A_5379 Alexander Legkov vs IOC
- CAS 2017_A_5380 Evgeniy Belov vs IOC
- CAS 2017_A_5422 Aleksandr Zubkov vs IOC
- CAS 2017_A_5433 Maria Orlova vs IOC
- CAS 2017_A_5436 Maxim Vylegzhanin vs IOC
- CAS 2017_A_5441 Alexander Rumyantsev vs IOC
- CAS 2017_A_5445 Yulia Chekaleva vs IOC
- CAS 2017_A_5446 Anastasia Dotsenko vs IOC
After the rendering of these reasonded decisions the CAS proceedings of the Athletes Olga Zaytseva, Olga Vilukhina and Yana Romanova were resumed in December 2018.
The Athlete disputed the reliability of the filed evidence provided by the IOC, Prof. McLaren and Dr. Rodchenko and pointed to various inconsistencies in this evidence. She argued that the IOC did not only failed to provide any credible evidence on her supposed involvement in the so-called organised doping scheme or of her being aware of any doping scheme supposedly tailored to protect her, but did not even establish that she ever used a prohibited substance. The IOC merely relies on a speculation which is not admissible when the issues at stake are so serious and carry severe consequences for the Athlete.
The IOC contended that the Athlete had personally committed various anti-doping rule violations, namely:
- using a prohibited substance, i.e. the Duchess Cocktail, and using a prohibited method, i.e. urine substitution;
- tampering with any part of the doping control; and
- cover-up of and complicity in the commission of an ADRV.
The IOC, in its written submissions, provided a detailed description of the doping and cover-up scheme that allegedly operated in Russia from 2011 to 2015.
The IOC contended that the McLaren Reports and the Schmid Report both identified the Disappearing Positive Methodology as the origin of the institutionalised doping and cover-up scheme while Dr. Rodchenkov identified the main aspects to the Disappearing Positive Methodology in his affidavits.
With regard to the Athlete’s implication in this scheme, the IOC asserted that:
- The Athlete’s B sample bottles had multiple T marks and elevated sodium levels, i.e. evidence of tampering.
- The Athlete’s implication in the doping scheme was also demonstrated by the evidence of Dr. Rodchenkov.
The IOC requested the Panel to confirm the existence of a generalised doping scheme in Russia before and during the Sochi Games, one which enabled the Athlete to participate in a doping-control free environment. Also th IOC requested the Panel, to find a link (even contextual) between the Athlete or one of her urine samples and the generalised doping scheme which is sufficient to allow it to conclude that the Athlete has committed one or more of the alleged ADRVs.
Having considered the submissions of the Parties, the written evidence as well as the oral evidence and testimonies provided at the hearing the, in the present case, the Panel is comfortably satisfied that, the elevated sodium level found in the Athlete’s B sample constitutes reliable evidence to support the conclusion that the urine the Athelte provided was likely to have been deliberately swapped against clean urine that the Athlete had provided in advance to the Sochi Games.
Thus, the Panel finds to its comfortable satisfaction, on the basis of the evidence before it, that the Athlete committed an anti-doping rule violation for use of a prohibited substance and use of a prohibited method. However the Panel is not comfortably satisfied that the Athlete committed an anti-doping rule violation for tampering, neither for complicity.
Therefore the Court of Arbitration for Sport decides on 24 September 2018 that:
1.) The appeal filed by Ms. Olga Zaytseva on 6 December 2017 against the decision of the International Olympic Committee Disciplinary Commission dated 1 December 2017 is partially upheld.
2.) Paragraph I (a) of the Decision rendered by the International Olympic Committee Disciplinary Commission dated 1 December 2017 is modified as follows:
I. The Athlete, Olga ZAYTSEVA :
a) is found to have committed an anti-doping rule violation pursuant to the International Olympic Committee Anti-Doping Rules applicable to the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, in connection with the World Anti-Doping Code.
3.) Paragraph V of the Decision rendered by the International Olympic Committee Disciplinary Commission dated 1 December 2017 is annulled and replaced as follows:
V. Olga ZAYTSEVA is declared ineligible to be accredited in any capacity for the next edition of the Olympic Winter Games subsequent to the Sochi Olympic Winter Games (i.e. PyeongChang 2018).
4.) All other rulings contained in the Decision rendered by the International Olympic Committee Disciplinary Commission dated 1 December 2017 are maintained.
7.) All other motions or prayers for relief are dismissed.