Russia tops medals table as Games end amid doping scandals

Sun Feb 23, 2014 3:25pm EST
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By Mike Collett-White

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - The Winter Olympics ended on Sunday with host nation Russia on top of the medals table and Canada winning the men's ice hockey final, but news that two more athletes tested positive for banned substances dimmed the golden glow.

Canada claimed the last, most coveted title of the Games by sweeping aside Sweden 3-0 to retain their men's ice hockey crown, but two more victories for Russia gave them an unassailable lead with 13 golds to Norway's 11.

Sweden's misery was compounded by news that forward Nicklas Backstrom had failed a doping test.

Team officials were furious at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) because they were only told two hours before the game. The team doctor said the stimulant was contained in a pill the athlete had taken for many years to treat a sinus condition.

"That was one of the worst games we've ever seen, not because of the outcome and the way the team played, but because Nicklas couldn't compete in the game," said Swedish team manager Tommy Boustedt.

"This is one of the toughest days for me and Swedish hockey, and all because of the IOC."

One top Swedish official accused the IOC of putting politics ahead of sport and jeopardizing the future participation of National Hockey League players at the Olympics.

On a happier note, at the Sanki Sliding Centre, Alexander Zubkov added the four-man bobsleigh crown to his two-man title, while in the cross-country, Alexander Legkov grabbed the 50 km race in a Russian medals sweep.   Continued...

Russia's gold medallist Alexander Legkov poses with compatriots silver medallist Maxim Vylegzhanin (L) and bronze medallist Ilia Chernousov (R) after being presented with medals for the men's cross-country 50km mass start free event during the closing ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, February 23, 2014. REUTERS/Phil Noble