Russian skier Larissa Lazutina and Johann Mullegg from Spain devoured of Olympic medals due to doping test

Russia will appeal the expulsion of two of its skiers from the Olympics, the RIA Novosti news agency reported Monday, quoting a Russian vice-chairman of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The Russian Olympic Committee would lodge an appeal after the IOC on Sunday ejected from the games cross country skiers Larissa Lazutina and Olga Danilova for doping, Vitaly Smirnov said in Salt Lake City.

It also would challenge the IOC's decision to strip Lazutina of the gold medal she won on Sunday, he added.

Lazutina, 36, was stripped of her women's 30km classical cross їountry gold medal, but allowed to keep silver medals from the 15km freestyle and the 10km combined races.

Danilova, 31, will keep her silver medal from the combined and a gold medal in the women's cross country pursuit. RIA Novosti quoted Russian Olympic team spokesman Victor Mamatov as saying that Russia would lodge an official complaint with the Olympic international arbitration court in the Swiss city of Lausanne "within the next few days." On Thursday, Russia had threatened to pull out of the Olympics when Lazutina was banned from the 4x5km nordic ski relay after failing a doping test.

However, Russia later made an about-face, pledging to take part in the rest of the competition and the closing ceremony. These incidents were part of a series of controversial decisions made against Russian contestants throughout the Winter Olympics that were seen in the country as unfair and have been met with anger.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday unexpectedly waded into the row over Olympic judging standards, saying he "wholeheartedly and completely agreed" with the opinion that Olympic officials were biased against Russian competitors. The sports-mad president on Monday congratulated Russian athletes on their performances at the Winter Olympics, in spite of the "difficult atmosphere of these games."

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