Call To Relocate FINA 2015 World Championships Away From Kazan; Russian Doping Transcipts Released

Russian Doping

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By Steven V. Selthoffer, Swimming World Magazine Chief European Columnist

KOLN — The official English transcript of “Top Secret Doping: How Russia makes its Winners,” by Hajo Seppelt, WDR, the most important documentary (so far) in the history of sport, exposes the size and scope of the systematic, government sponsored Russian doping network.

Thirty one pages of gripping athlete testimonies, systematic and coordinated banned-substance procurement and distribution schemes as well as EPO ordered and delivered like a pizza are just a few of the astonishing revelations in the documentary.

The documentary is littered with a variety of stunning issues including: hidden cameras, payoffs, secret interviews, financial corruption and compromised anti-doping labs with corrupt anti-doping officials acting as double agents selling anti-doping information “how-to’s” to athletes and coaches.  There’s even death threats involved in this tangle web of outright competitive fraud.

Here Are Some Highlights of the Russian Doping Transcripts

Note: For those unfamiliar with television journalism and video editing, instead of footnotes for the quotes and references, we have inserted the run time of the video documentary in brackets. For example, for a quote taken at the 28 minute, 32 second mark in the transcript, it is referenced as (28:32).

The documentary exposes the machinations of Olympic sports from about 2010, the corruption at the Russian anti-doping (RUSADA) and the threat of dis-accreditation of RUSADA by WADA before the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. This all occurred before Russian president Vladimir Putin had invaded Ukraine.

Russian Documentary Directly Implicates Vladimir Putin
In the documentary, it exposes and implicates Russian President Vladimir Putin directly. All facilities to combat doping in sport in Russia – almost 100 percent are financed by the State, and controlled by the Government. (25:17)

To make sure Russian athletes weren’t caught doping, extra measures were put in place to prevent any positive tests from being out of their control.

At the (26:19) mark the transcripts document the following:
How strongly the Government exerts influence, is proved in a paper that was given to me. An Act of Government from 2010 for foreign control officers: the transport and export of urine and blood samples must always be approved. Samples may even be opened on the border. The Decree comes from – Vladimir Putin, at that time, the Prime Minister.

Probably in order to make sure that athletes at major championships are not exposed, there is yet another order from the Ministry.

There is nothing like that anywhere in the world, nor any need for it. It is only a last ditch attempt to stop someone from being caught by a doping control officer in an out-of-competition test from another country. Why FINA has not rescinded its prestigious FINA Award to Vladimir Putin continues to remain a controversial subject in the swimming community.

First-Hand Testimony of Doping Injections
In the documentary, Yuliya Stepanova, a Russian 800m runner who was banned two years for doping in 2013 talks of visits to Sergey Nikolaiewich Portugalov’s office where, “He personally gave me the drugs.” (16:04) Portugalov is a central figure overseeing aspects of the program.

The transcripts report that Portugalov (also known as Portugal) administers drugs personally and he even injects it himself. “People turn to him. They don’t call him Portugalov, they say Portugal to him. ‘I went to Portugal, got myself this or that’. That’s how the athletes talk,” said Stepanova.

Stepanova also carried a hidden camera to record other conversations and meetings. “When I came to the appointments with Portugalov, I’ve seen coaches and athletes from other sports in the queue. And he also told me himself, how he prepared Nordic skiers, walkers, 400 meter runners and other girls from our national team. Swimming coaches were also present. These people who I saw there, among them were also winners and medal winners from European and World Championships,” Stepanova said. (18:28)

“I knew that I would be doped at the time of the Russian Championships (in Kazan). And Portugalov told me: Don’t worry. You will probably have to go through doping control. You will be one of the first three or even win… After the control, you will receive a pink form with the numbers of your sample. Send it to me by SMS and then you can sleep peacefully,” said Stepanova (20:59)

Kazan – Future Home of the FINA 2015 World Championships
Kazan, now home of the FINA 2015 World Championships, has a special place in Russian sports, not just swimming. It is home to the Russian Track and Field Championships and the anti-doping authorities there.

It would be impossible to conceive how anyone could hold any world championships in Kazan given recent revelations. FINA (The governing body for Olympic and international aquatic competitions (swimming, water polo, synchronized swimming, diving and high diving) has some very tough face-saving decisions to make during the next few months.

The first step would be to rescind the FINA Award given to Vladimir Putin, and the second step would be to relocate the FINA 2015 World Championships.

Swimming World has been vigorous in its defense of clean sports, exposing doping in sports and promoting excellence in sports governance. Read the transcript. This is only the opening act in this event.

The official WDR transcript in English

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  1. avatar
    Linn K Hansen

    If this is right, this is clearly a serious issue. But the article above doesen´t give any information about the source of this release and, how this has been revealed? It refers to the content og the 31 pages and conversations that has taken place, with hidden cameras. But how these revelations has found their to way to public is yet not mentioned. Was this revealed by accident or as a result of long time investigations based on suspicion?

    Best regards,
    Linn Krogh Hansen
    (Chairman of the Norway Master Swimming Comitee)

    • avatar

      The source is WDR, the German public broadcaster, no?

  2. avatar

    Who were the runner-up bids for the 2015 Worlds??

  3. avatar

    don’t count on FINA doing the right thing … they lost touch a long time ago

  4. avatar
    Tony Goodwin

    Jack back is soooooo right. FINA is monolithic and moves at its own pace. They helped with the awful Montreal Masters and we now have to look forward to Guadalajara, the drug capital of Mexico after Kazan. I have booked everything for Russia but they will take so long to come to grips with it that we will all be left hanging. I brought Russia’s treatment of Ukraine to the attention of our local body but they were not prepared to comment because they felt it might embarrass FINA. What a joke!

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