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Article from CBC: Retired cross-country skier Beckie Scott lauds Russian Olympic ban

Beckie Scott says she's encouraged by the International Olympic Committee's decision to ban Russia from the 2018 Winter Olympics and allow only clean athletes from that country to compete as neutrals.

The former Canadian cross-country skier has been an anti-doping campaigner since her bronze medal in 2002 was upgraded from silver and then to gold because athletes who finished ahead of her were disqualified over failed doping tests.

The IOC says Russian athletes have to prove they're clean in order to compete in Pyeongchang, South Korea in February. They can't wear the Russian flag or hear the Russian anthem played if they win gold.

Scott is the chair of the World Anti-Doping Agency's athlete committee. She says the IOC's announcement sends a strong message to clean athletes that they'll be protected.


She also says if she was competing in Pyeongchang, she would feel there is a greater chance at a level playing field.

At 29, Scott became the first North American woman to capture a cross-country skiing Olympic medal by finishing third in the women's five-kilometre pursuit on Feb. 15, 2002.

Scott was lifted into the silver-medal position and eventually into top spot after winner Olga Danilova and silver medallist Larissa Lazutina of Russia were both disqualified for doping offences.

Scott received the silver medal at a ceremony in 2004. The Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland then ruled in December that Scott should be upgraded to gold due to Danilova's infraction.

Russian athletes to appeal

Both Danilova and Lazutina tested positive for darbepoetin, which enhances endurance by stimulating the production of oxygen-carrying red blood cells.

The recently banned Russian athletes have said they will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne.

Any sanctions imposed by the IOC can also be challenged at CAS, and later at Switzerland's supreme court, which can intervene if legal process has been abused.

The IOC said a panel of officials chaired by former France Sports Minister Valerie Fourneyron will decide which athletes to accept at the Olympics in February.