A double Olympic gold medalist who allegedly doped at Sochi 2014 was today elected as the new President of the Russian Federation of Bobsleigh (RBF). Alexander Zubkov, winner of the two and four-man events at Sochi 2014, replaces Georgy Bedzhamov, who fled Russia earlier this year amid corruption allegations.
The 41-year-old Zubkov beat his only contender in the elections, Vladimir Lyubovitsky, the former coach of the Russian national bobsleigh team.
Last month Zubkov was among 15 Russian athletes named in The New York Times by Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of Russia’s discredited laboratory in Moscow, as having been part of a program in the build-up to Sochi 2014.
Rodchenkov claimed this included ingesting a “three-drug cocktail” of banned steroids which were mixed with alcohol, as well as a covert system to replace the urine of affected medal winners with clean samples using soda containers and baby bottles.
Zubkov, who also won an Olympic silver medal in the two-man at Turin and bronze in the four-man at Vancouver 2010, has denied the claims.
He retired shortly after Sochi 2014, due to an injury, he claimed.
A court in Moscow in March ordered the arrest of Bedzhamov, co-owner of Vneshprombank, charged with an illegal withdrawal of bank assets worth 235 billion roubles (£2.4 billion/$3.4 billion/€3 billion).
An international arrest warrant for fraud charges was issued and Bedzhamov was arrested in Monaco in April.
Russia is currently trying to have him extradited.
The 52-year-old millionaire businessman had left Russia in January following the arrest of his sister Larisa Markus the previous month on accusations of fraud.
It followed the decision of the Central Bank of Russia to put Vneshprombank into temporary administration.
Both Bedzhamov and his sister face up to 10 years in prison if they are found guilty.
Bedzhamov had refused to give up his place as head of the RFB, which he has held since 2010, despite fleeing the country, but was ordered to resign “voluntarily” by Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko.
Bedzhamov had become President of the RFB in 2010 and was re-elected after Sochi 2014, where Russia won three gold medals in bobsleigh and skeleton.
Following the success at Sochi 2014, Bedzhamov was invited to the Kremlin where he received a state decoration from Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In June 2014 he also became the vice-president of communications at the International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation, serving on the world governing body’s ruling Executive Committee.
By Duncan Mackay
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz