Russia state-sponsored doping across majority of Olympic sports

Russia state-sponsored doping across majority of Olympic sports

Photo by Atos / Flickr

A new report looks into claims that dozens of Russian athletes were doped in the build-up to Sochi 2014, which would suggest that Russia operated a state-sponsored doping program for four years across the majority of summer and winter Olympic sports.

The investigation was commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada), who says Russia’s sports ministry “directed, controlled and oversaw” manipulation of urine samples of its athletes from late 2011 until August 2015, reads an article published on BBC News.

The report called this issue the “Disappearing Positive Methodology”, where positive doping samples would simply disappear.

Thomas Bach, the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) regards the findings as a”shocking and unprecedented attack on the integrity of sport and on the Olympic Games” and promises to apply the “toughest sanctions available”. IOC’s decision about any “provisional measures and sanctions” for the Rio Olympics (starting on August 5) will come on Tuesday.

The commission looked into allegations made by Grigory Rodchenkov, former head of Russia’s national anti-doping laboratory, who claimed he doped dozens of athletes before the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also declared he was helped by the FSB, the Russian secret service, to figure out how to open and then reseal what were supposed to be tamper-proof bottles used for storing urine samples, so that the contents could be replaced with clean urine.

The head of the commission, Canadian law professor and sports lawyer Dr Richard McLaren, said he sent an amount of stored samples from “protected Russian athletes” at Sochi 2014 to an anti-doping laboratory in London to check if they had any scratch marks around the necks of the bottles, which would indicate they had been tampered with. He declared that “100% of the bottles had been scratched”, but this could “not have been visible to the untrained eye”.

The report will definitely contribute to calls for a complete ban of Russia from the 2016 Summer Olympics starting in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil on 5 August.

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Caroline Parker has a Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies from the University of Bucharest. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in the same field. She specializes in gender issues, ethnic minorities, and has a passion for literature, but she loves to find out more about any subject she comes across. When she is not busy with her studies, she is attending conferences, seeing plays which deal with contemporary issues in society, traveling, taking photos for her Instagram account, and watching beauty related vlogs. She aims to become a published writer and to pursue a Ph.D. is the field of gender studies.