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Six Russian players banned for life in doping scandal

Team Russia banned from playing in 2018 Olympics, can still compete as neutral OAR team

Michelle Jay

Six women’s hockey players from Team Russia - Inna Dyubanok, Ekaterina Lebedeva, Ekaterina Pashkevich, Anna Shibanova, Ekaterina Smolentseva and Galina Skiba - have been sanctioned by the IOC after an investigation into the 2014 Olympic Games.

The doping scandal has been sweeping Russia by storm, and as a result, the six players have been disqualified from the 2014 Olympic Games and have been banned from playing in the 2018 Games or any other Olympics moving forward. Further, Team Russia has been banned from competing in the PyeongChang Games and their sixth-place finish in 2014 has been voided.

However, the team could still be allowed to compete at the Games - just not as Team Russia. Athletes who passed the investigation will be allowed to compete as a neutral OAR team (Olympic Athletes from Russia).

UPDATE: Though the team is eligible to compete as an OAR team according to the linked article above, whether they’ll actually get to play or not remains unclear.

It isn’t yet clear whether the points that Russia will lose from having their 2014 finish at the games annulled will affect the standings and rankings for the 2018 Games.

Michelle Jay

Three of the players who were banned - Skiba (pictured above) Shibanova, and Smolentseva, competed at this year’s 2017 IIHF Women’s World Championships in Plymouth, Michigan.

Smolentseva and Pashkevich were also members of the NWHL’s Connecticut Whale during its inaugural season (though Pashkevich only competed in one game).

Smolentseva is one of six athletes to be banned from playing for Team Russia for life.
Michelle Jay

Cleared of charges during the investigation was Anna Shokhina, who had been accused of doping during Sochi. She is the second Russian athlete to be cleared of doping charges by the IOC (the first was figure skater Adelina Sotnikova).