Russia World Championships US bobsled, skeleton athletes fear next year's championships

Reports say that American bobsled and skeleton athletes were mulling a possible boycott of the world championships in Sochi.

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Katie Uhlaender reacts after finishing her run during the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014 play

Katie Uhlaender reacts after finishing her run during the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014

(AFP/File)
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United States athletes have voiced concerns about competing in next year's World Championships in Russia but will not take any action on participation until the release of a new report on doping in the country, officials said Monday.

The New York Times reported on Sunday that American bobsled and skeleton athletes were mulling a possible boycott of the world championships in Sochi in February in protest at the Russian doping scandal.

USA Bobsled & Skeleton chief Darrin Steele said in a statement to AFP the organisation was opposed to "organisational boycotts" as a "general principle."

However, he confirmed that most US athletes due to take part in Sochi had voiced concerns about competing in Russia.

He added that no decision would be taken until after the release this week of the latest report by Canadian law professor Richard McLaren which is expected to shine more light on doping in Russia.

"The majority of our athletes do have concerns about competing in Sochi, but they are also waiting for the McLaren report and they are hoping that their concerns will be alleviated so they can focus on competition at the World Championships," Steele said.

The Times report quoted US athletes expressing frustration at the fact that the championships were taking place in Russia despite results of a World Anti-Doping Agency investigation that alleged a state-sponsored scheme to manipulate test results at the 2014 Winter Olympics.

"The fact that nothing has been done about the Sochi scandal and the fact that we're still going to race there ? it doesn't make us feel secure, or that they're taking the situation seriously," US skeleton racer Katie Uhlaender said.

Kyle Tress, another skeleton racer, said a decision to participate had been "passed down the line."

"Now it's fallen into the lap of athletes," Tress told the Times.

"There's tremendous support to skip this event, and I think it's the right decision."

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