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Russia Downplays Sochi Olympics Doping Claim

Russian officials are “concerned” following claims of government-sanctioned doping among Russian athletes at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, sports news website reported Wednesday.

The statement follows claims by former Russian anti-doping agency worker Vitaly Stepanov, who said that Russian intelligence agents had helped to cover up doping during at the Sochi Olympics by posing as anti-doping staff. He also said that he was informed about a cover-up by Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of Russia's drug-testing laboratory (RUSADA), in an interview broadcast on the American CBS "60 Minutes" program.

Advisor to Russia's sports minister Natalya Zhelanova said the country's authorities were “concerned” by new claims, but said that adding that Stepanov had “no connection to anti-doping activity," reported.

No one has heard the claims from Rodchenkov himself, said Zhelanova.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said it would “act immediately” on the claims and would seek access to CBS recordings of conversations. WADA president Sir Craig Reedie said in a statement that the allegations made in the program “offer real cause for concern as they contain new allegations regarding attempts to subvert the anti-doping process at the Sochi Games."

Russian Sports Ministеr Vitaly Mutko said on May 7 that all of Stepanov's “so-called exposures are based on fiction,” the Novaya Gazeta newspaper reported.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has already banned Russian athletes from international competition in November following an earlier investigation by WADA on “state-sponsored” doping in Russia.

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