Adelina Sotnikova Cleared in Doping Investigation
As first verdicts come in related to suspicious urine samples from Sochi’s and skiers are penalized, case against Sotnikova is closed.
For the past year, the results of the 2014 Olympic Ladies competition, already controversial, have been held in uncertainty. The Russian gold medalist, Adelina Sotnikova, had never been the most popular winner, with many thinking silver medalist Yu-Na Kim should’ve won. Then came the allegations of mass state-sponsored doping by the Russian athletes, and late last year, her urine sample was announced as being among those of 28 Russian athletes under investigation for possible tampering.
This week the International Olympic Committee Disciplinary Committee was holding hearings, and Friday they announced she’s the first athlete involved to be cleared, even as four Russian skiers were stripped of their results and slapped with lifelong Olympic bans. That’s six Russian skiers stripped of their results so far. The cases for most of the other athletes are still pending.
This was always the most likely result for her. Of all the cases involved, hers was one of the weaker ones. The stronger cases were the bottles had multiple microscopic scratches on them, ones that couldn’t have formed by the bottle’s initially being sealed. Sotnikova’s had a single microscopic scratch on the lid, one that could have conceivably resulted from the lid being screwed on a little too tight during sealing. Meanwhile, it seems Grigory Rodchenko, who ran the anti-doping lab involved and has admitted to his part in Russia’s doping program, has specifically said she wasn’t part of that. With no sign of tampering in the urine itself, there basically was no real evidence against her, and Rodchenko’s testimony was exculpatory.
Whether the judges were right when they gave her the gold in the first place, or whether there was even cheating involved there, is a question that may never be answered. But it’s highly unlikely any of that would be her fault.
Even if she won’t admit to it yet, her competitive career is probably still over. She hasn’t competed since 2015, she proved unable to keep up with the stacked Russian field even then, and this season she was too injured to even try. But whenever she officially goes into retirement, she will still do so as an Olympic champion.