Canadian luge team loses Olympic medal after Russia doping ban reversal

Feb 1 2018, 10:07 pm

It’s been a roller coaster ride of emotions for Canada’s Olympic luge team.

Four years ago in Sochi Sam Edney, Alex Gough, Justin Snith, and Tristan Walker walked away with nothing. Members of the Canadian Olympic luge relay team, they agonizingly finished in fourth place, just 0.1 seconds shy of the bronze medal position.

A decision in December changed that though, as two members of the silver medal team from Russia – Albert Demchenko and Tatiana Ivanova – had been disqualified for doping. They were two of many Russian athletes that had been caught cheating in Sochi, adding another reason for the IOC to ban Russia from the Games in PyeongChang entirely.

The Russian luge relay team was to be stripped of their medals, with Latvia trading in bronze for silver and Canada moving up into bronze. It was to be Canada’s first-ever medal in Olympic luge.

Here’s what one member of the Canadian team said at the time:

It had to be bittersweet for the four Canadian lugers, who had realized a dream, but not in the way they imagined. Sure, they got their medal, but they were robbed of their Olympic moment.

On Thursday, they were robbed again.

A decision out of Switzerland by the Court of Arbitration for Sport was made on Thursday to reverse the IOC decision due to insufficient evidence. The result is that 28 Russian athletes have been reinstated, and will get to keep their medals.

This, despite a mountain of evidence that suggests Russia had a state-sanctioned doping system in place.

“This may have a serious impact on the future fight against doping,” the IOC said in a public statement, disagreeing with the decision.

While 28 Russian athletes have been reinstated, they will still have to apply to participate in PyeongChang 2018, which begins in eight days, for the Olympic Athlete from Russia team.

 As you can imagine, this news was not met pleasantly by the Canadian team, with Edney sounding off on Twitter.

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