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Russian doping: 'An unprecedented attack on the integrity of sport & the Olympic Games'

July 19,2016 09:08

Russia stands accused of "a shocking and unprecedented attack on the integrity of sport and on the Olympic Games" after an independent WADA-commissioned report said it operated a state-sponsored doping program during the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.

Russia stands accused of "a shocking and unprecedented attack on the integrity of sport and on the Olympic Games" after an independent WADA-commissioned report said it operated a state-sponsored doping program during the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.The report by Canadian law professor Richard McLaren concluded Russia's "Ministry of Sport directed, controlled and oversaw the manipulation of athlete's analytical results or sample swapping, with the active participation and assistance of the FSB, CSP, and both Moscow and Sochi Laboratories."The FSB is Russia's federal security service while the CSP is involved in the training of Russian athletes.In a statement, WADA called on "the IOC and the International Paralympic Committee to consider, under their respective charters, to decline entries, for Rio 2016, of all athletes submitted by the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and the Russian Paralympic Committee."It also recommended Russian officials be denied access to international competitions, including Rio 2016.IOC president Thomas Bach said in a statement it "will not hesitate to take the toughest sanctions available against any individual or organization implicated," with the governing body's executives set to decide Tuesday what further sanctions Russia will face. Photos: Battling drug cheatsThe World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) new report is the latest twist to hit the Russian doping scandal, with it revealing obstructions -- including bribes, intimidation and tampered packages -- to testing in Russia. Photos: Battling drug cheatsWADA will retest samples from the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, focusing on those intending to compete in Rio 2016, to root out any potential drug cheats. Photos: Battling drug cheatsWADA's report on alleged widespread drug use in international athletics concluded that senior figures including IAAF president Sebastian Coe (pictured) "could not have been unaware of the extent of doping." Photos: Battling drug cheatsFormer WADA president Dick Pound chaired a press conference held in Munich on January 14, 2016 to present the 89-page report. It said "corruption was embedded" and "cannot be blamed on a small number of miscreants" within the IAAF. Photos: Battling drug cheatsA report by the IAAF's ethics committee claims a powerful trio blackmailed Russian distance runner Lilya Shobukhova into paying them off to keep results of her positive drug tests secret. Photos: Battling drug cheatsRussia's former athletics president Valentin Balakhnichev, its ex-chief coach for long-distance athletes Alexei Melnikov and former IAAF consultant Papa Massata Diack have all been banned for life. The report says "far from supporting the anti-doping regime, they subverted it." The IAAF's former anti-doping director Gabriel Dollé has been given a five-year ban. Photos: Battling drug cheatsThe report claims Balakhnichev, Melnikov and Papa Massata Diack "conspired together ... to conceal for more than three years anti-doping violations by an athlete at what appeared to be the highest pinnacle of her sport. All three compounded the vice of what they did by conspiring to extort what were in substance bribes from Shobukhova by acts of blackmail." Photos: Battling drug cheatsPound produced an independent report in November 2015 which detailed systemic doping in Russia along with an establishment effort to cover it up. He recommended Russia be banned from athletic competition, which it duly was by the IAAF. Photos: Battling drug cheatsThe findings uncovered a "deeply-rooted culture of cheating at all levels" within Russian athletics. Asked if it amounted to state-sponsored doping, Pound told reporters: "In the sense of consenting to it, there's no other conclusion." Photos: Battling drug cheatsThe report suggested the London 2012 Olympics -- in which Russia won 24 gold medals and finished fourth -- was "in a sense, sabotaged by the admission of athletes who should have not been competing." Photos: Battling drug cheatsPound's report detailed "corruption and bribery practices at the highest levels of international athletics," evidence of which has been given to international crime-fighting organization Interpol for further investigation. Photos: Battling drug cheatsSenegal's Lamine Diack, former president of the IAAF, is being investigated by French police over claims he accepted bribes to defer sanctions against drug cheats from Russia. French prosecutors claim he took "more than €1 million ($1M)" for his silence. Diack has yet to comment. Photos: Battling drug cheatsCoe, a former Olympic gold medalist, has come under fire for his praise for predecessor Diack, whom he called the sport's "spiritual leader" when he took over the role in August 2015. He told CNN he would "do anything to fix our sport." "The investigation has established the findings set out in the report beyond a reasonable doubt," McLaren told a press conference in Toronto, Canada Monday."The evidence we have uncovered is all verifiable and can be cross-corroborated by multiple sources. I am unwaveringly confident in our report," he added.The Kremlin and Russian Sports Ministry are yet to respond to CNN's request for comment.The investigation came off the back of claims made by former Russian anti-doping laboratory director Grigory Rodchenkov last year to the New York Times that he was ordered to cover up the drug use of at least 15 Sochi 2014 medal winners.The Russian track and field team has already been barred by from competing in the 2016 Games by the IAAF, although more than 80 athletes have filed petitions to participate under the Olympic flag.Read: New WADA report gives fresh allegations of Russian dopingWill Russia be banned from Rio?Reaction to the McLaren report from the international community has been swift, with U.S. Anti-Doping Agency chief Travis Tygart saying the study "has concluded, beyond a reasonable doubt, a mind-blowing level of corruption within both Russian sport and government that goes right to the field of play."Tygart, who was instrumental in exposing American cyclist Lance Armstrong as a drug cheat, called on the international community to rally together "to ensure this unprecedented level of criminality never again threatens the sports we cherish."Tygart also pushed for Russia to be banned entirely from next month's Olympics. "Anything less than that sends the wrong messages," he told CNN.Anti-doping authorities from more than 10 countries -- including the U.S., Canada, Germany, Spain, Japan and Switzerland -- are also expected to file a request to have the entire Russian Olympic team banned from Rio, according to the New York Times, which says it has received emails confirming the matter."The fact that the commission didn't give any recommendations to ban Russian team from the Olympics in Rio is a positive fact," the head of the Russian Olympic committee Alexander Zhukov told the state run news organization TASS, adding that the report needed to be studied in greater detail before he could comment further. Meanwhile, Russian MP Irina Rodnina -- a three-time Olympic gold medalist in figure skating -- accused the report of a broader plan to deface Russia ahead of the Games. "It's a general tendency, the McLaren report is similar with other restrictions against Russia, in trade, policy and against certain individuals. There's a powerful external pressure on Russia," she told TASS. "The McLaren report has been presented just few days ahead of the Rio Olympics, and it's been done this way deliberately. Now it all depends on the IOC decision.""Culture change" necessaryShortly after the McLaren's comments, WADA chief spokesman Ben Nichols tweeted that his organization would recommend that Russians be banned from all international competition, including Rio, until "culture change" is achieved.In a series of tweets, Nichols condemned what he called the "most deliberate and disturbing abuse of power ever seen in sport" while saying that the scale of the accusations across 30 sports means "there can no longer be a presumption of innocence" where Russian athletes are concerned. "This is extraordinary, we have never ever heard of anything this bad," said CNN sports analyst Christine Brennan. "This goes into the heart of, 'Can you believe that any Russian athlete is clean going into Rio?'" In his statement, whistle-blower Rodchenkov alleged that he assisted in doctoring urine samples provided by Russian athletes during overnight shifts at the Sochi Games. He also accused the Russian secret service of providing active assistance with the cover-up, which he says took place before, during and after the Sochi Olympics. Rodchenkov's statement followed allegations from another former employee of the Russia Anti-Doping agency, Vitaliy Stepanov, who claimed in a 2014 German documentary that the Russian Olympic federation supplied banned substances to athletes in exchange for 5% of their earnings. Stepanov is married to former Russian middle-distance runner Yuliya Stepanova, who backed up the claims. "In a training camp in Portugal, our athletes simply lived under false names," said Stepanova, who relocated to Canada and has successfully appealed to run under the Olympic flag in Rio. "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."Read: Russian pole-vaulting great contest Olympic banRead: Doping in sport -- counting the human cost Doping allegations have repeatedly been discredited by Russian authorities, including a spokesman for President Vladimir Putin who referred to Stepanova as "Judas," according to an IAAF report. A documentary alleging that Russia has fallen victim to an international smear campaign is scheduled to air Monday on Russian television. The 25-minute film titled "The Doping Trap" was distributed to journalists in advance of its premier on the state-owned sport channel Match TV. It profiles four Russian athletes along with drug testing supervisors who counter the claims of Stepanova and Rodchenkov, while alleging they have been victims of an elaborate set-up.

IAAF,IOC,Rio 2016,Olympics,Yuliya Stepanova,Doping,Russia,athletics,track and field,sport,Russian doping: ',An unprecedented attack on the integrity of sport &, on the Olympic Games', - CNN.com

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