Sochi closes amid drug scandals

BUSTED: Latvian men's ice hockey player Vitaljis Pavlovs (no. 79) has been thrown out of the Games after testing positive for methylhexaneamine.


    Feb 24, 2014

    Sochi closes amid drug scandals


    SOCHI'S US$50 billion (S$63 billion) Olympics, plagued by a chorus of fears over terrorism and civil rights in the build-up, closed yesterday with Russia hailing a Games wrapped up in the image of President Vladimir Putin.

    Ahead of the closing ceremony, Russian officials were keen to bask in a 16-day showpiece that passed off relatively unscathed.

    "The ice of scepticism towards the new Russia has been broken," said Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak. "The Games have made the country, the culture, and the people a little closer and more understandable for the world."

    Mr Gilbert Felli, International Olympic Committee's (IOC's) executive director for the Olympic Games, said that the Sochi Olympics have been "of a very high level".

    "What the bid committed in 2007 has been delivered," he said. The Olympic flag will now pass to 2018 host Pyeongchang, South Korea.

    But doping reared its ugly head once again, with Austrian cross-country skier Johannes Duerr testing positive for the performance-boosting drug EPO yesterday.

    Duerr, 26, has been booted out of the Games, and is the fifth athlete to test positive at Sochi.

    Latvian men's ice hockey player Vitaljis Pavlovs was thrown out earlier after testing positive for methylhexaneamine. German biathlete Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle, Italian bobsleigh athlete William Frullani and Ukraine's cross-country skier Marina Lisogor have also been caught doping.

    The IOC is conducting a record 2,500 doping tests in Sochi. The 2010 Vancouver Olympics had one positive case.