McLaren report: More than 1,000 Russian athletes implicated in state-sponsored doping -RocketNews
More than 1,000 Russians – including Olympic medallists – benefited from a state-sponsored doping programme between 2011 and 2015, a report claims.
At least 30 sports including football covered up samples, the report said.
“It was a cover-up that evolved from uncontrolled chaos to an institutionalised and disciplined medal-winning conspiracy,” said the report’s author, Richard McLaren.
Lawyer McLaren said London 2012 was “corrupted on an unprecedented scale”.
The report also implicates medallists at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow and the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
According to the report, salt and coffee were used to manipulate Russian samples.
The report added that the system was refined over the course of the London 2012 Olympics, 2013 Worlds and the Winter Olympics where a now “fail safe” system was in place to protect likely Russian medal winners.
Russia won 72 medals at the London Games, 21 of which were gold, and 33 medals at Sochi 2014, 13 of which were gold.
“The desire to win medals superseded their collective moral and ethical compass and Olympic values of fair play,” McLaren wrote.
He said international sports competitions had been “unknowingly hijacked by the Russians” and sports fans have been “deceived” for years.
“It is time that stops,” he added.
McLaren’s second report added depth and supporting evidence to the initial findings published in July – that Russia operated a state-sponsored doping programme.
That first report was met with denials from Russia and calls for more proof from the International Olympic Committee.
The new report also found:
- At the Sochi Games, two Russian female ice hockey players had male urine samples
- The samples of four Russian gold medal winners in Sochi were tampered with
- Emails were found asking for instructions from the Russian Ministry of Sport on what to do with a positive sample – save or quarantine?
- It found spreadsheets containing lists of athletes whose samples had been saved
- A clean urine bank was also kept in Moscow
Urine sample swapping common practice
That was based on information received from Dr Grigory Rodchenkov, a former director of the anti-doping laboratory at Sochi 2014.
He had said the Russian secret service developed ways of opening sample bottles and replacing their contents without intervention being detected.
The new report claims to have compiled clear details on exactly how the sample bottles in Sochi were tampered with.
Investigators used a tool which matched the description of one used by the FSB (Russian Federal Security Service), which leaves tiny marks and scratches on the inside of the cap.
An expert was given 13 bottles, one of which had not been tampered with, which he immediately spotted.
In cases of alleged sample swapping, investigators found there were scratches and marks on the inside of the cap, along with DNA inconsistencies.
UK Anti-Doping chief executive Nicole Sapstead said the report was “hugely significant for sport and those who fight to keep it clean”.
She added: “Everyone engaged in sport needs to ensure that the right processes, sanctions and safeguards are in place to protect everyone’s right to clean, fair and honest sport.”
She also called for more funding to support investigations.
The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) described the report’s findings as “unprecedented and astonishing”, adding: “They strike right at the heart of the integrity and ethics of sport.”
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the body that governs world athletics, said: “It is time that this manipulation stops.” It said it will take further action once it is able to examine the latest report.
British athlete Paula Radcliffe said Russia had committed a “huge fraud”. “We need to know this cannot happen ever again,” added the marathon world record holder.
Russian MP Dmitry Svishchev, who is also the head of Russia’s Curling Federation, was quoted by Ria Novosti news agency as saying: “This is what we expected. There’s nothing new, only empty allegations against all of us. If you are Russian, you’ll get accused of every single sin.”
What is Russia doing about doping?
The Russian Investigations Committee – the country’s main anti-corruption body – continues to investigate criminal cases that have been launched.
The committee says 60 athletes have been questioned so far.
Senior officials from Russia’s sports ministry, its anti-doping agency and the Russian Athletics Federation are also said to have been questioned.
On Wednesday, Russia’s anti-doping agency (Rusada) appointed former double Olympic pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva to chair its new board.
The move was questioned by Wada, which said Rusada broke an agreement that it would be consulted before any appointment was made.
Isinbayeva, 34, was strongly critical of Wada’s recommendation that all Russian athletes be banned from Rio 2016.
What could happen next?
In a news conference on Thursday, International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach said the McLaren report’s findings would be taken up by two further commissions.
Only once those commissions had made their recommendations could the IOC decide what steps to take, he said.
“As soon as we have the report it will be handed over to the two commissions, who have already undertaken preparatory work,” Bach said.
He added: “But if you ask me for my private opinion then personally if you have an athlete being part of such a manipulation system, clearly I would not like to see this person compete again.”