Olympians Who Doped Face 'Life-Long Bans,' IOC Chief Bach Says

Image: Russian national flag and Olympic flag are seen during closing ceremony for 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics
The Olympic and Russian national flags fly during the closing ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in February 2014.JIM YOUNG / Reuters file

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By Tracy Snyder and F. Brinley Bruton

The International Olympic Committee has promised to crack down on individual Russian athletes and officials if recent allegations of state-sponsored doping are proven.

That could mean "a life-long ban for any implicated person" and their "immediate entourage," the governing body's President Thomas Bach told journalists on a conference call Wednesday.

Punishment could also include financial sanctions and "the exclusion of entire national federations" from Olympic events, he added.

Bach's vows follow claims by Russia's former anti-doping director that he ran an organized doping program for Russian athletes at the Sochi Games and helped switch tainted samples for clean ones.

Grigory Rodchenkov told The New York Times that at least 15 Russian athletes relied on doping for their victories during the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.

Related:Russian Athletes Dismiss Cheating Allegations

The IOC has asked the World Anti-Doping Agency to carry out a full-fledged investigation and plans to retest Sochi samples stored at the lab in Lausanne, Switzerland.

On Tuesday, the IOC announced that 31 athletes in six sports have had abnormal test results in reanalysis of their samples from the 2008 Beijing Summer Games. Final results on those tests were expected early next month.

Disciplinary proceedings against the unidentified athletes from 12 countries had been opened, the IOC added.

The Associated Press contributed.