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  • Olympics - doping

    Athletics Roiled by Reports of Mass Doping
    VOICE OF AMERICA News August 02, 2015 5:29 PM

    The world of international track and field was reeling Sunday after reports that 146 medals at the Olympics and World Championships between 2001 and 2012 were won by athletes with suspicious blood test results.

    The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said Sunday it was "very alarmed" by the reports in two European media outlets.

    German broadcaster ARD and The Sunday Times newspaper in Britain said they obtained access to the results of 12,000 blood tests from 5,000 athletes. The files came from the database of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and were leaked by a whistleblower.

    The news organizations showed the data to two experts, who concluded distance running was in the same state as cycling had been when Lance Armstrong won the seven Tour de France victories of which he has since been stripped.

    The reports said more than 800 of the athletes recorded one or more "abnormal" results, defined as a result that had less than one chance in a 100 of being natural.

    Russia tops list

    Between them, the athletes accounted for 146 medals at top events, including 55 golds.

    Russian athletes had by far the most suspicious results, followed distantly by Ukraine, Morocco, Spain, Kenya, Turkey and others.

    Anti-doping scientist Robin Parisotto, who reviewed the data from the 11-year period along with blood doping expert Michael Ashenden, said many athletes appeared to "have doped with impunity, and it is damning that the IAAF appears to have idly sat by and let this happen.''

    Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko suggested there was an ulterior motive to the allegations and Athletics Kenya said it was considering legal action against ARD and The Sunday Times.

    Both media reports were released just three weeks before the world championships in Beijing, which run from August 22-30. Athletics Roiled by Reports of Mass Doping

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  • #2
    Doping in sport - All that glisters - Suspicious blood-test results are leaked
    Aug 8th 2015 THE ECONOMIST

    WITH two weeks until the Athletics World Championships in Beijing, fans of track and field are looking forward to an opportunity to marvel at sporting prowess. But they have just received a reminder that performances that seem too good to be true may be just that.

    On August 2nd the Sunday Times, a British newspaper, and ARD/WDR, a German broadcaster, released an analysis of leaked results of 12,000 blood tests carried out by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) from 2001-12. It found that one in seven athletes’ tests showed results “highly suggestive of doping” and that a third of medals in endurance events were won by competitors whose tests raised suspicions. Robin Parisotto, a scientist consulted by the news groups, called the most extreme results “downright dangerous” to athletes’ health, and said the IAAF had “sat by and let this happen”.

    The IAAF, whose members will choose a new president in August, has come out swinging. Sebastian Coe, one of the candidates, described the leak as a “declaration of war on my sport”. Lamine Diack, the outgoing president, claimed that “behind all this there is a desire to redistribute medals”. The IAAF says it runs sport’s most rigorous blood tests, notes that it has stripped medals from many athletes and accuses the media of confusing tests that raise red flags (perhaps because of illness or altitude training) for definitive positive results.

    The controversy is sure to cast a shadow over the IAAF’s signature event later this month. However, fans of Jamaica’s Usain Bolt (a likely star in Beijing) can rest easy: all the record-holding sprinter’s tests in the database were clean.
    All that glisters | The Economist

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    • #3
      Wednesday, August 12, 2015 RADIO FREE EUROPE
      Retested Doping Samples Implicate 28 Athletes From Russia, Belarus, Ukraine

      Disciplinary action has been initiated against 28 athletes after the IAAF, world athletics’ governing body, retested samples from the 2005 and 2007 World Championships and discovered what it described as 32 "adverse findings."

      The IAAF said it could not name the 28 yet, "due to the legal process." But it revealed that most of the athletes implicated in the performance-enhancing drug scandal were from Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine.

      It said: “A large majority of the 28 are retired, some are athletes who have already been sanctioned, and only very few remain active in sport.”

      It said those athletes who still are active have been provisionally suspended and that none will be competing at the World Championships in Beijing, which are due to begin on August 22.

      The 2005 World Championships event was staged in Helsinki and the 2007 event was in Osaka, Japan.
      Retested Doping Samples Implicate 28 Athletes From Russia, Belarus, Ukraine

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      • #4
        Drugs Pervade Sport in Russia, World Anti-Doping Agency Report Finds
        NY TIMES REBECCA R. RUIZ NOV. 9, 2015

        GENEVA — Members of Russia’s secret service intimidated workers at a drug-testing lab to cover up top athletes’ positive results. They impersonated lab engineers during the Winter Olympics in Sochi last year. A lab once destroyed more than 1,400 samples.

        Athletes adopted false identities to avoid unexpected testing. Some paid to make doping violations disappear. Others bribed the antidoping authorities to ensure favorable results, and top sports officials routinely submitted bogus urine samples for athletes who were doping.

        Those allegations were among hundreds contained in a report released Monday by the World Anti-Doping Agency. Across 323 pages, it implicates athletes, coaches, trainers, doctors and various Russian institutions, laying out what is very likely the most extensive state-sponsored doping program since the notorious East German regime of the 1970s.

        In addition to providing a granular look at systematic doping, the group that drafted the report made extraordinary recommendations, including a proposal that Russia be suspended from competition by track and field’s governing body and barred from track and field events at next summer’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

        “It’s worse than we thought,” Dick Pound, founding president of the World Anti-Doping Association and an author of the report, said at a news conference in a Geneva hotel. “This is an old attitude from the Cold War days.”

        Russian officials responded with defiance, disputing the investigation’s findings. “Whatever we do, everything is bad,” Vitaly Mutko, Russia’s sports minister, told the news agency Interfax. “If this whole system needs to shut down, we will shut it down gladly. We will stop paying fees, stop funding the Russian antidoping agency, the Moscow antidoping laboratory. We will only save money.”

        Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, the director of the Moscow lab whom Monday’s report accused of having solicited and accepted bribes, dismissed the suggestions. “This is an independent commission which only issues recommendations,” he said. “There are three fools sitting there who don’t understand the laboratory.”

        Mr. Pound said he had presented the group’s findings to Mr. Mutko before they were released publicly. “He’s frustrated to some degree,” he said. “He certainly knew what was going on. They all knew.”

        The report also recommended that the World Anti-Doping Agency impose lifetime bans on five Russian coaches and five athletes, including the gold and bronze medalists in the women’s 800 meters at the 2012 London Olympics.

        “The Olympic Games in London were, in a sense, sabotaged by the admission of athletes who should have not been competing,” the report read.

        Bans from competition are not all that could come of the inquiry. Mr. Pound said the agency had negotiated a cooperation agreement with Interpol and had handed over extensive documents and evidence. Interpol confirmed that cooperation with its own announcement on Monday, noting that related inquiries stretched from Singapore to France.

        Russia Is the Violations Leader
        In June 2015, the World Anti-Doping Agency released its first set of statistics on doping violations. The violations, taken from 2013 data, included 115 countries and 89 sports. Russia had the highest number of violations -- 225 across 30 sports -- with 42 of them coming from track and field events.

        http://graphics8.nytimes.com/newsgra...Doping-600.png

        Last week, the French authorities announced that they had opened a criminal investigation into the former president of track and field’s world governing body, Lamine Diack of Senegal, over allegations that he accepted bribes to allow at least six Russian athletes to participate in competitions, including the 2012 Olympics.

        The former director of the medical and antidoping division of that governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations, is also under investigation, the French authorities said, along with Mr. Diack’s legal adviser.

        Russian athletes, in soaring numbers, have been caught doping in recent years. Russia had far more drug violations than any other country in 2013 — 225, or 12 percent of all violations globally, according to data from the World Anti-Doping Agency. About a fifth of Russia’s infractions involved track and field athletes, the focus of Monday’s report.

        “This level of corruption attacks sport at its core,” Richard H. McLaren, a Canadian lawyer and an author of the report, said in an interview Sunday. In contrast to corporate governance scandals like those currently affecting world soccer, he said, drug use by athletes has distorted the essence of professional games. “Bribes and payoffs don’t change actual sporting events,” Mr. McLaren said. “But doping takes away fair competition.”

        The report released Monday was the result of a 10-month investigation by an independent commission of WADA. Its inquiry stemmed from a December 2014 documentary by the German public broadcaster ARD, which drew on accounts from Russian athletes, coaches and antidoping officials, who said that the Russian government had helped procure drugs for athletes and cover up positive test results.

        Further allegations emerged in August, when ARD and The Sunday Times of London released another report more broadly covering the leaked results of thousands of international athletes’ blood tests dating to 2001, showing decorated athletes in good standing with suspicious drug tests. Those allegations — which drew significant suspicion to Kenya — are also being investigated by the independent commission, but the results were not included in Monday’s report, as the inquiry is not complete, the agency said.

        The three-person commission, led by Mr. Pound, also included Mr. McLaren, who teaches law at the University of Western Ontario, and Günter Younger, the head of cybercrime for the police in the German state of Bavaria.

        WADA’s foundation and executive board will decide whether to act on the commission’s recommendations; they are scheduled to meet next week in Colorado Springs, an event that motivated the timing of the release of the commission’s report, Mr. Pound said.

        In a statement on Monday, the International Olympic Committee called the report “deeply shocking” and said it trusted the judgment of the I.A.A.F., which would decide whether to bar Russia from competition.

        Mr. Pound did not offer any time frame for the recommended suspension. If Russia did not fight the prescriptions — to enact rigorous and specific drug-testing controls — he said he thought it could be possible for the country’s track and field athletes to compete in the Summer Olympics.

        “If they do the surgery and do the therapy, I hope they can get there,” he said. “That is your nuclear weapon. Either get this done or you are not going to Rio.”

        The commission also recommended that the Russian antidoping authority be declared non-code-compliant indefinitely; that the director of the Moscow laboratory be removed from his job; and that the lab, which was provisionally banned in 2013, lose its accreditation.

        The Russian Ministry of Sport did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But the initial reaction in Russia fell in line with the tradition since Soviet times, with many attributing the revelations to a Western plot to undermine the country’s accomplishments.

        “It is all connected with the fact that Russian athletes demonstrate such good results, some countries are not satisfied with it,” said Igor Ananskikh, a member of the youth policy and sports committee of the Russian Parliament.

        Nikolai Valuev, a former Russian heavyweight boxing champion now serving as a deputy in the Parliament, said on the state-run Rossiya 24 television channel: “In recent times, I hear only about investigations of Russian athletes. This has already become a system, too.

        “First of all,” he said, “we must conduct a broad investigation to find out whether the results of the investigation are true.”

        Days before Monday’s report was published, however, Russia’s athletics federation suspended five athletes, including a noted distance runner, Maria Konovalova.

        “The Russians themselves have said there are vestiges of the old Soviet system, old-guard coaches who haven’t changed and can’t change,” Mr. McLaren said. “The minister of sport says their way of operating is over. But read our report.”

        Russia has had a particularly prominent place in the international sports spotlight in recent years, hosting not only the Winter Games in Sochi in 2014 but also the track and field world championships in Moscow the year before.

        The country is scheduled to host the next World Cup, in 2018, although the Swiss authorities are investigating allegations that Russia might have secured the tournament through under-the-table agreements. The Moscow laboratory implicated in Monday’s report is set to oversee testing for FIFA during the World Cup. The lab did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

        Mr. Pound declined to say whether he thought Russia should be stripped of its status as host of that tournament. “I think FIFA’s got to sort out its own difficulties — without our help,” he said.

        Mr. Mutko, Russia’s sports minister, sits on FIFA’s executive committee.

        “The credibility of sport has taken some serious body blows in the last month,” Mr. Pound said, referring to the FIFA corruption case and to Monday’s report, which suggested that similar doping violations existed beyond track and field. “Public opinion is going to move toward all sports being corrupt.” http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/10/sp...inds.html?_r=0

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        • #5
          Russia doping scandal: 5 of the most shocking allegations
          Jethro Mullen, CNN November 10, 2015

          (CNN)A stunning report this week has rocked the athletics world with detailed allegations of a state-sponsored doping program in Russia.

          The findings of the independent report, commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), has raised the possibility of Russian track and field athletes being banned from the 2016 Olympics.

          Russia's anti-doping official initially denounced the report as "unprofessional, illogical and declarative," but some of its evidence has already been passed on to the international crime-fighting organization Interpol for further investigation. And on Tuesday, WADA said it has suspended the Moscow-based laboratory that is supposed to analyze the urine and blood samples of Russia's athletes.

          Speaking again Tuesday, the head of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency acknowledged there is a problem but insisted his country is moving forward to address it. Nikita Kamaev said the report -- which was especially critical of a lab that, he said, is independent from his agency -- provided clarity but no real news to his organization.

          Here are just five of the most striking allegations contained in that report:

          Secret police inside the anti-doping laboratory
          Highlighting the extent of Russian state involvement in the efforts to dodge anti-doping rules alleged by the report, the authors describe cases where agents of the FSB, the successor to the Soviet-era KGB, visited and even posed as staff at a key laboratory.

          FSB agents regularly visited the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory, and staff members suspected their phones were tapped and parts of the facility were bugged, according to the report.

          In Sochi, the resort where Russia held the Winter Olympics last year, one lab worker cited by the authors reported a high-degree of intrusion. "We had some guys pretending to be engineers in the lab but actually they were from the federal security service," the staff member said.

          Employees' fears of surveillance by authorities "affect the impartiality, judgment and integrity of the laboratory," the report said.

          Hundreds of samples destroyed before key inspection
          The report paints a disturbing portrait of the Moscow laboratory, which it suggests "has been involved in a widespread cover-up of positive doping tests."

          In one of the most spectacular examples, it details the "intentional and malicious destruction" of 1,417 test samples at the lab that a WADA team had specifically requested be kept. The director of the lab, Grigory Rodchenkov, ordered that the samples be thrown out just days before the WADA team arrived for an inspection in December, according to the report.

          He apparently told the team that he decided to "do some clean up to prepare for WADA's visit." He later said he misunderstood the instructions he received from WADA about the samples, a claim the report's authors said they don't find credible.

          Bribes and extortion
          The report is full of allegations of systematic bribery by Russian athletes and coaches to ensure their doping practices stay under the radar.

          It says interviews revealed that officers from the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) regularly "accept money placed on the table at the time of taking the doping control test." During the test, "it is frequently the case that the athlete is unaccompanied to the location where the sample is provided and therefore, there is no observation of the urine stream from the athlete," the report states.

          It also describes efforts by senior officials in the All-Russia Athletic Federation (ARAF) to use a list of athletes under review by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) for doping violations to extract cash payments from the athletes to cover up the cases. One elite world marathon runner paid her coach and the medical director of ARAF sums of money every year, part of which was "to protect her from receiving a positive drug result from her doping activities," the report says.

          Intimidation of doping testers

          Doping control officers who don't want to take part in the corrupt culture surrounding the testing of athletes in Russia have to go to extreme lengths to avoid it, according to the report.

          One officer recounts climbing out of a hotel window during the night to avoid the police officers who were waiting outside to escort the samples to the Moscow lab. The officer says the samples were smuggled out of Russia through a third-party and four of them tested positive for doping in a Swiss lab. "My mother received threatening calls" as a result, the officer says.

          The report also details the "intimidation, provocation and disruptive techniques from athletes' support personnel, including coaches" that a team of doping control officers working on behalf of the IAAF faced in the Russian city of Saransk in June.

          Use of false identities to dodge tests
          Monitoring of top athletes relies on authorities like WADA and the International Olympic Committee being kept informed of the athletes' whereabouts outside of competitions so officials can conduct unannounced tests. But the report lists a range of measures Russian athletes apparently use to get around those measures.

          "In a training camp in Portugal, our athletes simply lived under false names," said Yuliya Stepanova, a Russian 800-meter runner who was a whistleblower in the report. "They have taken banned substances, they undertook a course of doping, and to ensure that foreign control officers did not come and test them, they provided false names."

          In another case, a team official denied to doping control officers that the athletes they were looking for were present at a hotel near Sochi, even though the hotel receptionist had already confirmed that all the athletes were registered there. Russia doping scandal: 5 of the most shocking claims - CNN.com

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          • #6
            Vladimir Putin cancels meeting to discuss doping allegations against Russia
            THE GUARDIAN - Associated Press 11 November 2015

            The Russian president Vladimir Putin has cancelled a meeting with sports leaders, scheduled to be held in Sochi on Wednesday in the wake of the country’s doping scandal.

            A Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted by Russian state news agencies as saying the reason for the cancellation was heavy rain that has restricted flights in and out of Sochi, the host city of last year’s Winter Olympics.

            Putin had been due to discuss the doping allegations against Russia, with the track federation coach Yuri Borzakovsky in attendance.

            The sports leaders have instead arranged a meeting in the city of Mineralnye Vody with the Russian Olympic Committee president Alexander Zhukov. Putin is to be briefed separately later, according to Peskov. Vladimir Putin cancels meeting to discuss doping allegations against Russia | Sport | The Guardian

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            • #7
              UK anti-doping system worse than Russia's, says minister
              BBC 11/11/2015

              Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko has said Britain's anti-doping system is "even worse" than Russia's.

              A World Anti-Doping Agency commission report accused Russia of "state-sponsored" doping and of contributing to the "sabotaging" of London 2012.

              Mutko said: "We're hearing that medals won by our athletes in London must be taken away. But it's the British system of doping control that operated there."

              The Department for Culture, Media and Sport said the system was "robust".

              A spokesperson added: "It is highly valued by Britain's sports governing bodies and our clean athletes."

              Mutko told Russian news agency Interfax the British system had "zero value".

              Referring to the 2012 Olympics, he added: "It was Britain's anti-doping organisation under the leadership of the International Olympic Committee.

              "Each medal winner was tested for doping and received their medal only after having tested negative."

              The Wada independent commission chairman Dick Pound said the All-Russia Athletics Federation (Araf) should be banned from international competition when he made his address on Monday to accompany the publication of the report.

              Araf has been told to respond by Friday, when the IAAF council will decide whether to suspend Russia from international competition. It could also strip the country of future events, including the World Junior Championships due to be held in Kazan in July 2016.

              Mikhail Butov, the general-secretary of the country's athletics federation, said on Wednesday that Russian athletics knows it has a "problem with doping", but an Olympic ban would punish its clean athletes.

              He told the BBC the claims were "not new for everybody", but Butov - one of 27 members who will vote - said work was under way to "change the mentality of coaches in the regions", adding that "isolation of any federation is not a good way".
              UK anti-doping system worse than Russia's, says minister - BBC Sport

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              • #8
                Doping in sport - A cold-war chill
                Nov 10th 2015 THE ECONOMIST

                ONLY the most naive sports fan would be shocked by yet another round of doping allegations. Nearly two-thirds of the top-ten finishers in cycling’s Tour de France between 1998 and 2013 have faced credible accusations of using performance-enhancing drugs, and a leak of blood tests last year revealed that as many as one in seven competitors in athletics showed results “highly suggestive of doping”. Yet the report on Russian athletes published on November 9th by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) still represents a new kind of scandal—or, more precisely, a very old one. Rather than merely citing individual athletes, WADA has accused Russia of organising a massive doping programme, the type of systematic national effort to undermine the integrity of sports that was thought to have ended with the cold war.

                WADA’s focus on Russia as a uniquely egregious offender is hardly new. In June the agency released statistics showing that the country led the world in doping violations in 2013, with 11.5% of the global total. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has retroactively stripped medals from seven Russian athletes, most recently the discus-thrower Darya Pishchalnikova. But WADA’s case, sparked by a 2014 documentary aired on the German television station ARD, is far more damning than merely identifying a cluster of bad apples. In a dark reprise of East Germany’s infamous “State Plan 14.25”, in which the government force-fed industrial quantities of dangerous performance-enhancers to over 10,000 athletes, WADA has unearthed convincing evidence of support for cheating by Russian sports authorities. “It’s worse than we thought,” said Dick Pound, the report’s co-author and a former WADA chairman. “It may be a residue of the old Soviet Union system.”

                The report’s main smoking gun involves Sergey Portugalov, the chief medical officer of the All-Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF). The investigators uncovered an email in which he encouraged Yuliya Rusanova, an 800-metre (2,625 feet) runner, to increase her consumption of testosterone, a prohibited hormone. Ms Rusanova subsequently made a secret audio recording of her coach, Vladimir Mokhnev, while he allegedly gave her a packet of banned, undetectable drugs from “the institute”, which WADA’s investigators believe refers to another organisation headed by Dr Portugalov. (Mr Mokhnev denies this account.) The report also accuses Dr Portugalov of directly administering injections of prohibited substances to athletes, though it does not provide specifics. Dr Portugalov has not responded to the allegations publicly, and could not be reached for comment.

                Even if the charges against Dr Portugalov are true, it is possible that he was a rogue supplier acting on his own. But WADA has levelled far more sprawling allegations regarding “direct intimidation and interference by the Russian state” to conceal athletes’ doping. Many of the most incendiary claims in the report, such as assertions that Russian authorities had established a secret “pre-screening” lab to filter out positive tests and that state intelligence agents disguised as engineers had infiltrated a testing facility, seem to rely primarily on hearsay. However, the agency did obtain a few statements of guilt from people directly involved in the cover-up. Staff at a WADA-accredited drug-testing laboratory in Moscow told investigators that its director had ordered them to test samples of unspecified origin and get rid of them afterwards. Liliya Shobukhova (pictured), a marathon runner, acknowledged paying €450,000 ($480,000) out of her winnings to ARAF in exchange for the destruction of samples that tested positive. (According to WADA, 1,417 test results from Russian athletes were missing at an inspection in December 2014.) And Vitaly Stepanov, a former tester for Russia’s anti-doping agency and Ms Rusanova’s husband, said the organisation’s boss instructed him not to test the winner of a 400-metre race.

                On the basis of this evidence, the report reaches a stunning conclusion: in addition to calling for lifetime bans for five Russian runners, WADA recommends that the entire Russian track-and-field team be excluded from international competitions until the country cleans up its anti-doping safeguards. Given the magnitude of the alleged offences, it would take a rapid transformation to achieve this within the nine months left before the 2016 Summer Olympics—a threat Mr Pound compares to a “nuclear weapon”. And early responses from Russian authorities do not suggest swift cooperation is forthcoming. Vladimir Uiba, the head of Russia’s medical agency, claimed the charges were “politically motivated”, while Vitaly Mutko, the sports minister, said sardonically that the country could “save money” by shuttering its anti-doping institutions.

                Any decision on banning Russian athletes would fall to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), track-and-field’s global governing body. Unfortunately, the IAAF itself is also mired in the scandal. Perhaps the most explosive allegation to come out of the WADA investigation does not appear in the report: that Lamine Diack, the former head of the IAAF, accepted some €1m in bribes paid through ARAF in exchange for not taking action against cheating Russian athletes. WADA excluded this chapter in deference to criminal proceedings launched by French prosecutors, who arrested Mr Diack on November 4th. (He has not commented since he was detained.) Sebastian Coe, the association’s new president, will surely face pressure to take a hard line on the WADA allegations, if only to prove that the IAAF has now turned over a new leaf. He is demanding an official response from Russia by the end of the week, and has asked the IAAF’s council for approval to consider sanctions.

                There is still a chance that Russia could do just enough to get back into Mr Coe’s good graces in time. In an official statement, the sport ministry said it was “fully aware of the problems” at ARAF, and noted that the federation’s leadership had changed since the period when the alleged doping conspiracy occurred. But barring a remarkable show of good faith, the battle lines are drawn for the first absence of a major country from an international sporting competition since the United States and Russia boycotted each other’s Olympics in 1980 and 1984. Sporting officials are shuddering at a return to the bad old days of the cold war: “The worst possible thing for sport is for this to become politicised,” says Chris Eaton, a former head of security for FIFA. However, following a year of proxy wars between Russia and the West in Ukraine and Syria, any hopes that sport could remain immune are probably wishful thinking. Doping in sport: A cold-war chill | The Economist

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                • #9
                  The Washington Post: Russia's big cheat For millennia, rules have been at the core of athletic competition. Not that they haven't been broken, but the Olympics still stand for the principle of human striving on a level playing field, or the primacy of rules, according to The Washington Post.
                  UNIAN 12 Dec 2016

                  This is why the final report of Richard H. McLaren's investigation into Russian doping of athletes, submitted Friday, is so disturbing. The report shows that more than 1,000 Russian athletes scompeting in summer, winter and paralympic sports were involved in or benefited from coverups of positive doping tests in what Mr. McLaren calls a "conspiracy" between 2011 and 2015. Doping to gain unfair advantage has been a long-standing and serious problem in sport. But the Russians' wholesale and systemic breaking of rules is on a plane of its own, the Editorial Board of The Washington Post wrote.

                  While his previous report this past summer detailed a clandestine system of covering up doping at the Sochi Olympics in early 2014, the new document, based on additional investigation, shows that state-run doping and coverup poisoned the London 2012 Summer Olympics, the 2013 Universiade Games, the world track and field championships in 2013, and the Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Sochi. According to the report, 10 medalists in London already have had their prizes stripped; there were four track and field athletes in 2013 whose samples were swapped; two female ice hockey players' samples at Sochi appear to have been swapped; two athletes who won four Sochi Olympic golds and a female silver-medal winner had samples with "physiologically impossible salt readings"; 12 medal-winning athletes at Sochi had scratches and marks on the inside of urine test bottles, indicating tampering; six winners of 21 Paralympic medals had urine samples tampered with at Sochi.

                  What's astounding is not only the quantity of rule-breaking but the system. According to Mr. McLaren, "the summer and winter sports athletes were not acting individually but within an organized infrastructure" that was overseen by the Russian state, including the Ministry of Sport and the Federal Security Service, successor to the Soviet KGB. The brazen scheme at Sochi that Mr. McLaren exposed this past summer, with a "mouse hole" through which dirty urine samples were swapped for clean, was part of what became a "well-oiled systemic cheating scheme." In effect, if any athletes who used drugs to cheat were not protected by various field mechanisms Russia had put in place, they would be shielded from discovery by a "final, fail-safe mechanism" that would transform a positive sample into a negative one. Mr. McLaren reports that more than 500 samples that were positive — showing evidence of doping — were simply entered into the anti-doping system as negative; well-known and elite athletes had their results "automatically falsified."

                  The fallout from the McLaren report is not yet complete; more investigations are underway. But the findings underscore that President Vladimir Putin's style is to break rules, whether persecuting dissidents at home or making mischief in Ukraine. Mr. Putin had to know that his own security services were fixing the Olympics. Fortunately, this time, Mr. McLaren has exposed the cheat.

                  The Washington Post: Russia's big cheat - World news | UNIAN

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                  • #10
                    Russia never had state-controlled doping support system — Putin
                    Sport
                    MEDUZA Source: TASS December 23, 13:13 UTC+3
                    The president stresses WADA work must be transparent

                    MOSCOW, December 23. /TASS/. Russia never had and will never have a state-controlled system for the support of performance enhancing drugs abuse in sports, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday.

                    "Russia never had such system, this is simply impossible and we will be doing everything possible to prevent," Putin said during his annual news conference. "There must never be such thing as state system for doping support."

                    'The Russian Investigative Committee and the Prosecutor General’s Office are investigating all possible instances of doping abuse and will definitely come up with the results in the end," Putin said, adding that WADA work should be transparent.

                    "I am confident that the activities of any anti-doping agency, including WADA, should be transparent, clear and verifiable, and we should be aware of the results of its work," he said.

                    "Why everything is done behind the closed doors? We do not understand this," he said. "Everything must be open."

                    Putin also said that the element of political interference in sports must be excluded just like in the sphere of culture, since "there is a certain geopolitical element in both of these spheres."

                    "We need to make sports, just like culture, clean of any politics," Putin said. "Sport is like culture and they must be uniting people and not dividing them."The Russian president said, however, that the problem of doping does exist in Russian sports, just like in any other country.

                    "Just like in any other country we do have the problem of doping in sports," Putin said. "We must acknowledge it and by doing so we need to do everything possible to eradicate this problem."

                    Foreign instructions
                    Putin did not rule out WADA's whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov had been working for long on foreign instructions. "It (Rodchenkov's behavior) makes me think, somebody there (abroad) was instructing him," he said.

                    Putin said, Rodchenkov had fled abroad and now "hands over everything there," and quite possibly even invents something in addition. "I already cannot remember the last name of the person who ran away," the president said, adding before working in Moscow Rodchenkov lived in Canada, "used to come to Russia to bring in here all sort of junk."

                    Putin continued saying he could barely imagine how that man could smuggle smoothly the banned substances across the Canadian or American border. "He was smuggling in here all that junk all the time," he said. "He made it his own business, made people take it (doping)."

                    "And later on, once they started tightening the screws on him he absconded," the president said, adding at a certain stage Rodchenckov will receive assistance there abroad, and "later on, like it is done with any scoundrel - they will simply drop him."

                    This spring, Rodchenkov told Western media that Russian athletes largely used performance enhancing drugs at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi with the approval from the national sports authorities.

                    In an interview with New York Times, published in mid-May, Rodchenkov claimed that an unnamed official from the Russian Sports Ministry used sending him lists of national athletes, whose doping samples he had to swap during the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

                    Rodchenkov also said that he developed a special cocktail consisting of three banned doping substances intended for the national athletes at home Games two years ago. TASS: Sport - Russia never had state-controlled doping support system — Putin

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                    • #11
                      McClaren doping report may affect Russian figure skaters
                      UAWIRE ORG January 2, 2017 12:20:39 PM

                      The Italian media is reporting that McLaren’s doping report may affect Russian figure skaters after the proceedings against Russian biathlon athletes and skiers are over. It is also reported that Adelina Sotnikova may be stripped of her Olympic Gold medal from Sochi in 2014.

                      In addition, there are concerns that Tatiana Volosozhar and Ksenia Stolbova also resorted to manipulating their doping samples. Therefore, it can affect the results of the Russian national figure skating team, who also won a Gold Medal.

                      Commenting on the situation, the President of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, noted that Richard McLaren is authorized to continue his work on the doping scandal in Russia. UAWire - McClaren doping report may affect Russian figure skaters

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                      • #12
                        Russia could lose skiing medals from the 2014 Winter Olympic Games
                        UAWIRE ORG January 3, 2017 8:18:00 AM

                        According to Iltalehti.fi, Alexander Legkov, Maxim Vylegzhanin and four other Russian skiers who were temporarily suspended from competition on the basis of the report of the Head of WADA Independent Commission, Richard McLaren, could lose their medals. The edition reported that the final decision on the matter could be announced in January.

                        On the 23rd of December, the International Olympic Committee initiated disciplinary cases against 28 Russian athletes who participated in the Sochi Olympic Games. Following the results of publication, cross-country skiers Alexander Legkov, Evgeniy Belov, Maxim Vylegzhanin, Alexey Petukhov, Julia Ivanova and Yevgeniya Shapovalova were suspended from competition.

                        In addition, the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation disqualified four skeleton racers: Aleksandr Tretyakov, Elena Nikitina, Maria Orlova and Olga Potylitsyna. In his New Year’s address, the President of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, announced new sanctions against Russia. The official outlined the measures that will be taken on the results of a shocking report about doping in the Russian Federation.

                        The first part of the report of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was published on July 18. A few dozen athletes including Paralympians were accused of fraud in this part of report. As a result, Russian Olympic athletics and weightlifting teams were suspended from the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and the whole Russian Paralympic team missed the competitions.

                        McLaren published the second part of the report on December 9. The WADA’s independent investigation revealed that more than a thousand Russian athletes in 30 sports are involved in doping or concealment of positive samples. According to the document, 12 Russian athletes who won medals in the Sochi Winter Olympic Games, were involved in replacement of samples.
                        UAWire - Russia could lose skiing medals from the 2014 Winter Olympic Games

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