World Anti-Doping Agency Accuses Russia Of Massive Doping Cover-Up

World Anti-Doping Agency

A commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency has released a 323-page report that does not mince words, accusing the Russian government of destroying urine samples and accepting bribes from athletes to cover up positive drug tests.

The report by the Independent Commission (IC), led by former WADA President Dick Pound, focuses on Russia’s track and field program, which had come under fire earlier this year after scathing reports told of improprieties that likely kept many athletes who tested positive for banned drugs in the sport. Though the reports did not directly say that other sports in Russia were participating in illegal activities to the level that track and field was, the article put a spotlight on all sports in Russia.

That cast a shadow over Russia at the FINA world championships in August, where several swimmers who had tested positive for banned drugs in the past 18 months – including 100 breast champion Yuliya Efimova — were cleared to compete.

Pound’s commission was created to independently investigate the allegations set forth by a German television program that first suggested illegal actions in Russia concerning doping. But the commission did take on any other sports besides track and field, so its findings stayed within one sport while publishing the disclaimer that “there are reliable indications that sports in Russia, other than athletics, are affected by doping. The IC wishes to make it clear that, in its considered view, Russia is not the only country, nor athletics the only sport, facing the problem of orchestrated doping in sport.”

The Russian government was also in the crosshairs by the WADA Commission. It did not have any written proof that Russia’s government was being duplicitous in its drug-testing actions, but added that “it would be naive in the extreme to conclude that activities on the scale discovered could have occurred without the explicit or tacit approval of Russian governmental authorities.”

The commission put the spotlight on Mariya Savinova-Farnosova and Ekaterina Poistogova, who won gold and bronze in the 800 meters at the 2012 Olympics. The commission claims to have testimony that the two regularly took illegal substances in training and before competitions, and the two were taught how to cheat the system by their respective coaches. Their non-participation in interviews with the commission further confirmed the commission’s claim that the two were hiding a lengthy doping past.

The commission blasted the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RADA) and the Russian athletics federation for essentially looking the other way while Savinova-Farnosova, Poistogova and other athletes routinely took drugs to gain an unfair advantage over their competitors. That was one step that led the commission to call for sanctions on RADA and the athletics federation.

This should surely put pressure on Cornel Marculescu, FINA’s Executive Director, to revisit his earlier statement to John Leonard of the American Swim Coaches Association when Marculescu said, “I would like to confirm that we have excellent working relations with RUSADA and we co-ordinate with them our doping control program in Russia.”

The WADA report includes testimonies from several witnesses that claim government agents that were not under the employ of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RADA) were often present to monitor drug testing. The presence of the government agents, the report claims, removed any semblance of “integrity” in the testing process. The report also states that witnesses believed the various drug testing facilities were under surveillance by the Russian government.

Another highlight of the report includes testimony that the director of one of Russia’s top drug testing laboratories, Grigory Rodchenkov, was “at the heart of the positive drug test coverup” by overseeing the destruction of more than 1,000 doping samples last December before an official WADA visit, and accepted bribes to make it happen. In an interview earlier this year with the WADA commission, Rodchenkov admitted to destroying the samples, but said he did it to clean up the laboratory and remove any samples he believed were not needed.

Rodchenkov’s actions were just part of what the WADA Commission called “a fundamentally flawed mindset that is deeply ingrained in all levels of Russian athletics.” The findings, based on interviews with many unnamed sources, led the commission to recommend that the Russian athletics federation receive a suspension and its athletes not be allowed to compete.

The commission did not explicitly recommend that Russia not be allowed to compete in track and field events at the Rio Olympics, but the recommendations set forth by the commission to bring the Russia Anti-Doping Agency and the Russian athletics federation back to being “compliant” with the WADA Code of Conduct could take more than a year to complete. That includes a report by RADA that will identify the areas that need a comprehensive overhaul, and that the Russian athletics federation remove any officials, coaches and athletes who were part of unethical actions.

The World Anti-Doping Executive Committee meets next week in Colorado Springs, where the results of the Independent Committee’s report will likely be reviewed and its actions taken into consideration. Sebastian Coe, the head of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), said he will push for a ban of Russian athletics that will keep them out of the Rio Olympics.

The head of the Russian athletics federation, Vadim Zelichenok, told The Associated Press that the federation has been working to clean up the organization since the alleged cover-up actions took place. That includes a restructuring of the management, which he hopes will convince the IAAF to not place a ban on the federation.

Read the full Independent Commission report.

Related Story Concerning FINA and the Russia Doping Scandal

FINA endorses Russian Lab for Testing At World Championships in Kazan

6 comments

  1. Trevor Pemberton

    russia hasn’t been the best friend of many in recent times,so this is not a shock….

  2. avatar
    LOL

    The Efimova case proved their anti-doping standards were the lowest in the modern world.

  3. Dick Beaver

    They were ahead of the “testing curve” back in the 60′ to the 80’s. No surprise that they are still at it.

  4. avatar

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