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International Olympic Committee

Russia – weighed down by a doping scandal – may still bid for 2028 Olympic Games

The country’s top sports official, Alexander Zhukov, says St Petersburg, Kazan and Sochi are potential cities

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 January, 2017, 10:35pm
UPDATED : Friday, 13 January, 2017, 10:35pm

Still mired in a doping scandal and with a track team banned from international competition, the president of the Russian Olympic Committee said his country may put forth a bid to host the 2028 Games.

Alexander Zhukov said on Friday that Russia is considering three cities as candidates for a 2028 bid, even as it battles accusations of a mass doping cover-up at the Sochi Olympics three years ago.

“It’s hard to say now, but why not? I think it’s completely possible to try,” Zhukov said. “It’s not just St Petersburg, we also have Kazan which is a possibility. It’s also possible in Sochi.”

Bidding for the 2024 Games is still under way, with a vote in September set to choose between Los Angeles, Paris and Budapest. The 2028 host is expected to be decided in 2021.

Russia hosted the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi but is under intense pressure following accusations of a massive doping cover-up at the Games. World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren has said there is evidence that doping test samples given by 12 Russian medal winners at the games were tampered with.

The doping scandals also heavily depleted Russia’s team for last year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Evidence of widespread doping meant the entire Russian weightlifting team was banned and only one of the 68-strong track and field team was allowed to compete.

Following McLaren’s report last month, a group of 19 national anti-doping agencies on Tuesday called for Russian teams to be banned from all international sports competitions and for the country to be stripped of hosting major events, including the 2018 World Cup. National anti-doping agencies, however, do not have the powers to impose such sanctions.

Zhukov said the anti-doping agencies were “creating a certain backdrop, putting pressure on the federations”.