Sports

Despite doping scandals, Russia could bid for 2028 Olympics

MOSCOW — Still mired in a doping scandal and with a track team banned from international competition, the president of the Russian Olympic Committee said his country may put forth a bid to host the 2028 Games.

Alexander Zhukov said Friday that Russia is considering three cities as candidates for a 2028 bid, even as it battles accusations of a mass doping coverup at the Sochi Olympics three years ago.

"It's hard to say now, but why not? I think it's completely possible to try," Zhukov told state news agency RIA Novosti. "It's not just St. Petersburg, we also have Kazan which is a possibility. It's also possible in Sochi."

Bidding for the 2024 Games is still under way, with a vote in September set to choose between Los Angeles, Paris and Budapest. The 2028 host is expected to be decided in 2021.

Russia hosted the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, spending about $51 billion on the games, but is under intense pressure following accusations of a massive doping coverup at the games. World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren has said there is evidence that doping test samples given by 12 Russian medal winners at the games were tampered with.

The doping scandals also heavily depleted Russia's team for last year's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Evidence of widespread doping meant the entire Russian weightlifting team was banned and only one of the 68-strong track and field team was allowed to compete.

Following McLaren's report last month, a group of 19 national anti-doping agencies on Tuesday called for Russian teams to be banned from all international sports competitions and for the country to be stripped of hosting major events, including the 2018 World Cup. National anti-doping agencies, however, do not have the powers to impose such sanctions.

Zhukov said the anti-doping agencies were "creating a certain backdrop, putting pressure on the federations."