U.S. Biathlon team won't compete in World Cup final in Russia over doping issues

Athletes from the United States Biathlon team issued a statement Friday night saying they wouldn’t compete in the World Cup Final event in Tyumen, Russia this March.

“The [International Biathlon Union]’s recent decision to move forward with the World Cup Final in Tyumen, Russia, is completely unacceptable,” a statement by the athletes on the biathlon team said. “In support of clean sport and our own physical safety, we cannot in good conscience participate.”

“The outcry from our fellow athletes from around the world has been respectful, strong and definitive. In addition to the dozens who expressed their opinion to the IBU Athletes Committee members ahead of the meeting on January 2018, the IBU received letters representing over 30 athletes, from eight countries and included three 2018 Olympic Champions.”

“The message from the athletes was clear. With Russia still being out of compliance with the WADA Code, with threats of physical harm to athletes who travel to Russia, with six athletes already sanctioned by IBU and the IOC from the 2014 Olympic season and another case awaiting a decision, holding the World Cup Final in Russia now sends an outrageous message of anti-doping indifference to the world.”

You can read the full statement in the tweet below.

New Jersey Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov is reportedly the financial backer for a lawsuit by Russian biathletes against the whistleblower who blew the lid off of the Russian doping scheme. The three biathletes won silver medals in the 2014 Sochi games and have been banned from future Olympics for life.

Russia’s doping scheme was so complex that it even included the swapping of samples from WADA’s testing lab. 

WADA, the World Anti-Doping Agency, issued a statement in December saying it supported the International Olympic Committee’s decision to bar Russia from officially competing in the 2018 games. At the time of the statement, WADA said Russia still remained non-compliant to its standards.

Susan Dunklee, of United States of America, shoots during the women’s 4×6-kilometer biathlon relay at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!