Russian doping: GB bobsleigh team could earn Sochi bronze medal

Team GB four-man bobsleigh
Team GB originally finished fifth in the four-man bobsleigh in Sochi

Great Britain's four-man bobsleigh team could earn 2014 Winter Olympics bronze after three Russians were banned.

The International Olympic Committee has disqualified bobsledders Alexander Kasyanov, Aleksei Pushkarev and IIvir Khuzin following the 2016 McLaren report into doping.

The athletes can appeal against the decision, but if it is upheld, GB's team are likely to be upgraded.

That would make Sochi 2014 the most successful Winter Games for Britain.

Englishman John Jackson, who piloted the four-man bobsleigh team made up of Welshman Bruce Tasker, England's Joel Fearon and Stuart Benson of Scotland and has now retired, told BBC Sport "there was a lot of emotion" when he heard the news.

"My wife Paula called me and I couldn't believe it. I did sit down at my desk for a cry," he said.

"It's still going to be a long process to try and get the bronze medal.

"I don't feel angry we missed out on the chance of standing on the podium in Sochi. That anger left me a long time ago.

"It is more the hardship of the season leading up to Sochi where I tore my Achilles and almost ended my career but fought back and 10 years of hard work led to the result."

Discounting this possible bronze, British athletes had won a total of 26 medals across 22 previous Olympic Games with four at Sochi and four at the 1924 Chamonix Games.

Data analysts have predicted Team GB will win five medals in Pyeongchang next year.

The men's team, which had originally finished in fifth in Sochi after Russia claimed gold and fourth place, moved up into fourth after the IOC's disqualification of five Russian athletes on Monday.

The IOC's decision to disqualify three more Russian bobsledders on Wednesday means Great Britain will move up to third place behind Latvia and the United States of America.

The McLaren report said Russian athletes benefited from a state-sponsored doping programme between 2011 and 2015, speaking of "a cover-up that evolved from uncontrolled chaos to an institutionalised and disciplined medal-winning conspiracy".

Meanwhile, the Czech Ice Hockey Association claims several national federations have sent letters to the IOC backing Russia's bid to field a hockey team at the 2018 Olympics.

Russian Sochi Olympians banned

Gold medallists

Alexander Legkov, 50km cross country

Aleksei Negodailo, four-man bobsleigh

Aleksandr Tretiakov, skeleton

Dmitry Trunenkov, four-man bobsleigh

Aleksandr Zubkov, two-man and four-man bobsleigh

Silver medallists

Olga Fatkulina, 500m speed skating

Yana Romanova, biathlon relay

Olga Vilukhina, biathlon relay and 7.5km biathlon

Maksim Vylegzhanin, 50km cross country

Men's 4x10km cross country

Men's team sprint classic cross country

Bronze medallists

Elena Nikitina, women's skeleton

Others

Evgeniy Belov, cross country

Sergei Chudinov, skeleton

Yuliia Ivanova, cross country

Alexander Kasyanov, four-man bobsleigh

IIvir Khuzin, four-man bobsleigh

Maria Orlova, skeleton

Alexey Petukhov, cross country

Olga Potylitsyna, skeleton

Aleksei Pushkarev, four-man bobsleigh

Alexander Rumyantsev, speed skater

Evgeniya Shapovalova, cross country

Olga Stulneva, bobsleigh

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