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WADA Says Russian State Involved in Doping Scandal

Sergei Karpukhin / Reuters

A report by an independent commission for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has backed claims that the Russian government promoted a state-sponsored doping program for their athletes at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

Speaking in Toronto, head of the commission Richard McLaren told the press that the Russian Sports Ministry and the Federal Security Service (FSB) were directly involved in the doping of Russian athletes.

McLaren said that the Kremlin scheme enabled Russian athletes across a wide range of sports “to compete dirty whilst being certain their samples would be clean.”

Clean urine samples were transported secretly by the FSB from a Moscow laboratory to a base in Sochi where they could be swapped with the tainted samples, McLaren said. The commission was able to identify at least three FSB employees that had direct access to the Sochi laboratory, one of whom was disguised as a “sewage worker.”

McLaren also said the Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko “directed and controlled” the operation with the “active participation of the FSB” in both the Moscow and Sochi laboratories.

The WADA commission was created to investigate claims by former head of the Moscow anti-doping lab Grigory Rodchenkov, who claimed that a group of Russian sportsmen, including at least 15 medalists, had used performance-enhancing drugs in Sochi with the help of Russian security services and the Sports Ministry.

The report comes after reports Sunday revealed that the head of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, Travis Tygart, had called on the International Olympics Committee (IOC) to ban the entire Russian team from the upcoming Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

McLaren said that he would not be making any recommendations to the IOC, but said that “for those [Russian athletes] who are competing as real sportspersons, I feel sorry for them.”

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