IOC Demands that Larissa Lazutina 'Prove She Had the Right to Take Part in Olympic Games'

Larissa Lazutina's case could be suspended. This was announced on Tuesday by the Russian skier's lawyer Anatoli Kucherena.

He said that on July 17 and 18 at the sports tribunal in Lausanne, Lazutina's appeal against her disqualification from the 2000 Winter Olympics will be examined. However, on Friday June 28, the International Olympic Committee put forward a petition, saying that 'Ms Lazutina must prove that she had the right to take part in the Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.' Kucherena said that if the request is granted, the case will continue for an indefinite period of time. 'I have no reason to believe that the request will not be granted', he said. Experts consider that the Russian side has the disadvantage in this dispute.

Kucherena spoke of the 'absurdity' of the International Olympic Committee's actions. In his opinion, the disqualification of Larissa Lazutina was 'baseless and not lawful'. 'Why was Larissa allowed into the competition, and why was she allowed to take part in a 30 km race in February if, as has been recently announced, she didn't pass drug tests taken in December? How can a skier, officially disqualified from December 8 2001 take part in the Olympic Games?' He said.

According to the lawyer, the difficulty lies in the fact that the International Olympic Committee's decision on disqualification comes into force only after the International Skiing Federation come to the same decision. The decision was reached on June 3 at the organisation's congress. 'The International Skiing Federation has not given any official documents, so we can't make an appeal which would be compulsory to complete within 21 days', Kucherena said.

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