A devastating and damning report into Russian athletic has found that the countrys government, security services and sporting authorities colluded to hide widespread doping across a vast majority of wintertime and summer sports
A devastating and damning report into Russian sport has found that the countrys government, security services and sporting authorities colluded to hide widespread doping across a vast majority of winter and summer sports. The International Olympic Committee has promised it will not hesitate to take toughest sanctions available against those implicated.
The review, led by the highly respected Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren, discovered widespread nation action to hide cheating among Russian athletes in the run up to the London 2012 Olympics, as well as a comprehensive cover up of doping during the course of its World Championships in Moscow and the World University Game in Kazan in 2013 and the Winter Olympics in Sochi a year later.
The IOC president Thomas Bach called the McLaren report a shocking and unprecedented attack on the integrity of athletics and on the Olympic Game. The IOCs executive board will meet via conference call on Tuesday to build initial decisions on possible sanctions for the Rio Games.
McLaren also confirmed the staggering accusations made by Dr Grigory Rodchenkov, the head of the Moscow laboratory between 2005 and 2015, that steroid-tainted urine samples were substituted with clean ones in Sochi with the help of Russias intelligence and anti-doping officials to enable athletes to pass doping tests.
However McLaren refused to say whether his findings should lead to Russia being banned from the Olympics in Rio which begin next month. My mandate was to establish facts not to make recommendations, he said. It is for others to take and assimilate and act upon my report.
Wada does not have the authority to immediately ban a country from the Olympics, but they can recommend sanctions to the IOC.
McLaren admitted that his report, which had taken 57 days to make, was merely a thin slice of what might be out there yet its findings are tremendously damaging for Russia.
The central finding of McLarens investigation was that Russian athletes from the vast majority of summer and winter Olympic athletics had benefited from what he called the Disappearing Positive Methodology which had become nation policy after the countrys poor medal count during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver.
The report found that all organs of the state were involved, including the Russian sports ministry, the Russian security service the FSB, and the Centre of Sports Preparation of National Teams of Russia( CSP ). According to McLaren a key figure was the deputy ministers responsible for sport, Yuri Nagornykh, who was appointed in 2010 by executive order of the then “ministers “, Vladimir Putin. Nagornykh, a member of the Russian Olympic Committee, was advised of every positive analytical finding arising in the Moscow Laboratory from 2011 onwards and decided who would benefit from a cover up and who would not be protected.
As McLaren put it: This is a slice of what is going on , not the total scene. But this included most of the winter and summer athletics. And we do know that every single positive was sent up the chain of command and sent back down again.
McLaren added that he was supremely confident in our findings, insisted that he had only deemed evidence that is beyond reasonable doubt. That included claims by Rodchenkov that he had helped dozens of Russian athletes with a cocktail of banned substances including metenolone, trenbolone and oxandrolone which he mixed with alcohol – and, to improve the absorption of the steroids and abbreviate the detecting window, dissolved the narcotics in Chivas whisky for male athletes and Martini vermouth for women.
The investigation also backed up Rodchenkovs claims that FSB agents had tampered with samples during the Sochi Olympics to replace those that would have otherwise tested positive for steroids. As McLaren explained, he had sent stored samples from Sochi to London lab to see if bottles had been opened, and all the bottles had scratchings and marks on it.
The US Anti-Doping Agencys chief executive Travis Tygart described the corruption found by the report as mind-blowing. The McLaren Report has concluded, beyond a reasonable doubt, a mind-blowing level of corruption within both Russian sport and government that goes right to the field of play, he said.Most importantly, our hearts go out to athletes from all over the world who were rob of their Olympic dreams. We must come together as an international community comprised of those who truly believe in the spirit of Olympism to ensure this unprecedented level of criminality never again threatens the sports we cherish.
Over the next few days the clamour for all Russias athletes to be banned from Rio is likely to grow. Last month the Guardian exclusively disclosed that the hugely respected chairs of the IOC Athlete Commission and the Wada athletes committee, Claudia Bokel and Beckie Scott, whose organisations represent the views of thousands of athletes worldwide, had written to Bach and Sir Craig Reedie cautioning them they were shattering the trust of athletes because they had failed to do enough to tackle doping, particularly with Russia.
On Saturday the New York Times uncovered that Scott was a key figure in a draft letter, from anti-doping officials from at least 10 nations – including the United States, Germany, Spain, Japan, Switzerland and Canada – and 20 athletes groups, calling for the entire Russian delegation to be barred from Rio. According to the newspaper, the letter is expected to be published within hours of the McLaren report in a bid to put pressure on the IOC to take a firm line against Russia. However most experts expect the IOC to resist such pressure. Russian nation media called into doubt research results shortly before they were published. The Russian deputy prime minister and Olympic committee head Dmitry Kozak has written to Olympic Committee head Bach and Wada to complain that Wada is trying to create an international alliance of athletes and organisations supporting a ban on Russian athletes at the Olympic games. He said Scott, who should be protecting clean athletes, was instead supporting the US and Canada in an attempt to place collective responsibility on all clean Russian athletes and penalize them for the actions of a few.
Last month Russias track and field superstars were banned from the Rio Olympic Games by the IAAF, the governing body of athletics. The results of an appeal to the court of arbitration for sport in Lausanne will be exposed on Thursday.
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