By Alexandra Krauska
Rabat – A new report by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) states that Russia sponsored doping in its athletes since 2011, for the 2012 London Olympics and the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, until August 2015. The report incriminates Russian sports officials, who were directly involved in the manipulation of urine samples.
“It’s a lot worse than people were expecting,” said a British sports news correspondent, Richard Conway. “580 positive tests were covered up across 30 different sports. We are into the world of James Bond-style espionage.”
The report, lead by Dr. Richard McLaren, a law professor from Canada, was commissioned after Grigory Rodchenkov, the head of the Russian anti-doping Agency, claimed he helped athletes to dope for the Sochi Olympics. The Russian government denied those claims, and Rodchenkov is now hiding in the US, according to several news sources.
Rodchenkov told investigators that he discovered a method to open the supposedly tamper-proof bottles that contained the urine samples. The contents were replaced with clean urine before testing.
McLaren sent the bottles to a lab in London to see if they had scratch marks from the tampering. He said that “100% of the bottles had been scratched,” but that they would “not have been visible to the untrained eye.”
This report will support the argument of those who wish to have Russia banned entirely from the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The track and field team has already been banned by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), in a decision released in June. They may make this decision as early as Monday, after a meeting of officials from athletic groups and national teams.
Some Russian athletes will be able to compete under the flag of the IOC if they can prove that they are clean.
“It’s just awful,” said Jo Pavey, a British distance runner. “You feel sorry for any clean athletes in Russia who have put their hearts and souls into qualifying for the Olympics. At the same time, so many are in this system that a strong message needs to be sent out.”