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Report: American, Russian skeleton racers have icy relationship

USA TODAY SPORTS logo USA TODAY SPORTS 2/13/2018 Scott Gleeson

American and Russian skeleton racers have had a chilly relationship at the Pyeongchang Winter Games, as the U.S. athletes are refusing to speak to their counterparts as a result of widespread doping allegations, Reuters reported on Tuesday

The International Olympic Committee banned the Russian team from competing at the Winter Olympics in response to failed doping tests and "systematic manipulation" at the 2014 Games in Sochi. Russian athletes without a record of doping, however, are allowed to compete as neutral athletes.

That doesn't sit well with American skeleton racers. Bronze medalist Matt Antoine explained the reasoning for lack of communication. 

"Do I believe they've competed fairly? No, and I've been very vocal about that," said Antoine, who won the bronze at the Sochi Games. "So I don't really have a need to have a conversation with those athletes."

MORE: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov claims U.S. helped orchestrate Olympic ban

MORE: Here's what you need to know about fallout for Russian doping scheme

Russian skeleton racers told Reuters they feel unfairly ostracized and condemned.

"They scold us without evidence," Russia's Nikita Tregubov said. "We weren't the ones who started it. It wasn't us. I didn't start anything. It's up to (U.S. athletes) to start over for there to be a good atmosphere."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov claimed during an interview last week with state-owned Russia-1 news that the Olympic doping allegations and subsequent ban of an official Russian team were orchestrated by the U.S. in an attempt to weaken the competition. 

Follow Gleeson on Twitter @ScottMGleeson

Related slideshow: Best of 2018 Winter Olympics (Provided by photo services)


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