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Former Anti-Doping Lab Head Accuses More Russian Athletes of Doping

Russian bobsledder Alexey Voevoda (right)

The former director of Russia’s anti-doping laboratory, Grigory Rodchenkov, has accused two more Russian athletes of using performance-enhancing drugs during the 2014 Sochi Olympics, the RBC news website reported Thursday.

Alexey Voevoda, two-time Olympic bobsled champion, and Maxim Vylegzhanin, three-time Olympic silver-medal winner for cross-country skiing, were both named by Rodchenkov as participants in a state-backed doping program. Both won their most recent medals at the Sochi Olympics in 2014.

Voevoda denied the allegations, saying that the new claims were evidence of continued attempts to block the Russian team from the upcoming Rio Olympics in August, the Sport Express website reported.

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko also denied Rodchenkov’s claims, alleging that he the former director is only making them to pay back the people who took him in when he fled Russia in November 2015, the Interfax news agency reported Thursday.

According to The New York Times, American filmmaker Bryan Fogel arranged Rodchenkov’s travel. Fogel is working on a documentary about drug testing in international sports.

Mutko further accused the former director of specifically targeting him, after he fired Rodchenkov from his post at Russia’s anti-doping laboratory in November, the TASS news agency reported Thursday. Rodchenkov maintains that he was forced to resign.

Rodchenkov first made allegations about a state-supported doping scheme in an interview to The New York Times in mid-May. He accused the Russian government of funding, running, and covering up a widespread doping program during the 2014 Sochi Olympics. The Kremlin has denied all allegations.

Further allegations against Russia came Wednesday night in a documentary aired by German broadcaster ARD. The channel implicated Mutko in the scandal, alleging that he had obstructed anti-doping investigations and concealed allegations of drug use.

On Thursday, Mutko commented on the film, claiming that it was attempting to frame Russia’s current anti-doping campaign and reforms as disingenuous and thereby steer public opinion against Russia, the Interfax news agency reported Thursday.

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