GENEVA (AP) — A report by the World Anti-Doping Agency included more details from investigators about how Russian athletes — with help from government officials — doped and got away with it at the Sochi Olympics.
Mondays’ report agreed with earlier stories that said the Russian government, secret service and state-funded anti-doping operation let cheating athletes compete and win medals. Canadian law professor Richard McClaren’s report supported allegations made by Grigory Rodchenkov, the former director of the WADA-accredited lab in Moscow. Rodchenkov fled Russia and detailed the scam for The New York Times in May.
Because of the report, WADA recommended banning all Russian athletes from the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
Some questions and answers about the report:
WHAT DID THE REPORT FIND?
Since 2013, German and American television programs, and British and American newspapers have detailed widespread Russian doping in track and field and beyond. Rodchenkov’s claims went further, detailing a scam that included cooperation from athletes, lab workers and security workers.
McLaren said Monday he was “supremely confident” of his findings, which found most of Rodchenkov’s claims credible, including that a “mouse hole” in the Sochi testing laboratory allowed for a urine-swapping scheme to replace steroid-laced samples, enabled by secret service agents breaking into tamper-proof bottles.
Claims of bottle tampering and adding salt to urine samples to make them more credible all checked out after independent expert analysis, the report found.
The surprise of this latest report, McLaren wrote, was “the extent of State oversight and directed control of the Moscow Laboratory” to cover up cheating.
And the reports last November of 1,400 stored samples in Moscow destroyed to deny them to WADA investigators? Well, it was more like 8,000, McLaren now says.
ISN’T RUSSIA ALREADY BANNED FROM THE RIO OLYMPICS?
Only the Russian track and field team, so far, is banned from the Summer Games starting Aug. 5.
Tuesday is a huge day for Russia’s Olympic status on two fronts in the IOC’s home city of Lausanne, Switzerland.
The International Olympic Committee’s president, Thomas Bach, will lead a conference call of his 15-member executive board to discuss fallout of the McLaren report.
A blanket ban of Russian teams across all 28 Summer Games sports — even in those few not tarnished by Monday’s report — has to be an option.
Across town, the IAAF governing body’s expulsion of the Russian track team is being challenged by the Russian Olympic body at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
That urgent verdict is scheduled for Thursday but could be rendered meaningless by an IOC blanket ban.
HOW DID THE SCHEME WORK?
It was already alleged that the Russian sports ministry, and state-funded anti-doping agency and lab were in on the scam.
The lab’s role as the “failsafe mechanism” was central to Monday’s report, enabling the Russian state to “transform a positive analytical result into a negative one.”
All positive samples at the Moscow lab had to be reported up to the Deputy Minister of Sport, Yuri Nagornykh — a 2010 appointee by then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
The ministry could then order which to report as negative to the global WADA system.
Still, when Russia hosted international sports events which brought independent observers — the Sochi Olympics, the 2013 track world championships — then deeper deception was needed.
Hence, bottle tampering by the secret service.
WERE INDIVIDUAL ATHLETES IDENTIFIED?
None are named by McLaren on Monday, though some names emerged in May after reports by CBS’s “60 Minutes” and the New York Times, which interviewed Rodchenkov.
He suggested that four gold medalists and at least 15 medalists from Sochi were tainted.
Bach and the IOC are on the clock.
The IOC expects to publish a statement on Tuesday summing up its board’s judgment. No news conference is planned.
If Russia’s Olympic committee is banned from entering any teams for Rio, it would likely be allowed to appeal that decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Sports’ highest court of appeal can turn around fast justice at a push.
It could mean Olympic brinkmanship just days before the opening ceremony.
And WADA has asked for more funding so McLaren can complete more detailed work after this report, which was delivered in 57 days so it came out before the Summer Games.
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