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IOC completing 1,000 retests of Vancouver Olympic samples

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — The IOC expects to complete retesting of more than 1,000 doping samples from the 2010 Vancouver Olympics next month.

Hundreds of results have already been obtained in the reanalysis program, said Richard Budgett, the Olympic body's medical director. He declined to provide details Sunday at a news conference after an IOC executive board meeting.

Any positive tests would allow the IOC to remove athletes who are still active from the Pyeongchang Winter Games, which open Feb. 9 in South Korea.

All samples from more than 170 Russian athletes who competed in Vancouver are being retested.

The IOC requested retesting of the entire Russia team from Vancouver after World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren last year detailed state-backed doping at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.

At Vancouver, an underachieving Russia team placed 11th in the medals table, with three golds and 15 in total.

That performance is often cited as a motive for Russia to start a doping program that ensured better results in the home Sochi Olympics. Russia currently tops the Sochi medal table.

An IOC disciplinary commission which is investigating Sochi cases arising from McLaren's evidence is due to start publishing verdicts within weeks.

All Olympic doping samples are stored at a WADA-accredited lab in Lausanne, and can be reanalyzed for up to 10 years as new anti-doping methods are developed.

Some Vancouver samples were previously targeted for re-tests, Budgett said in 2015.

Also Sunday, the IOC said a planned independent testing authority to oversee anti-doping at international events should be launched ahead of the Pyeongchang Winter Games.

Budgett cautioned that only an interim form of the testing unit might be ready to operate at the Olympics in seven months' time. It will be funded by the IOC and Olympic sports federations.

The IOC board also approved a change of Olympic allegiance for two Russian biathletes who want to compete for the host nation in February.

Ekaterina Avvakumova already represented South Korea when she placed fifth in the individual event at the 2017 world championships, while Timofei Lapshin was 12th for Russia in the men's race at the 2012 edition.

The IOC said its plans to send a refugee team to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics are being supported by the Olympic bodies of Qatar and Liechtenstein.

Ski mountaineering and 3-on-3 ice hockey are among new sports and events added to the program for the 2020 Winter Youth Olympics hosted by Lausanne.

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