(ATR) Richard McLaren says that Russian state-sponsored doping corrupted the London 2012 Olympics “on an unprecedented scale”, with more than 1,000 athletes involved.
Russia at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics (Getty Images)
"The extent of this corruption will probably never be established," McLaren told reporters following the release of part two of his investigation into the Russian doping conspiracy. "The desire to win medals superseded their collective morals, ethical compass and Olympic values of fair play."
McLaren added that the doping cover-ups “began in 2011 and went on well beyond Sochi 2014,” and that the “key findings of the first report remain unchanged.”
When asked if Russia could ever be trusted in the Olympic movement again, McLaren said: “Can they be trusted? I think the answer to that is yes, but they need to reform themselves.
“I had the opportunity to speak with Russian officials from July until now and they have a very comprehensive program which if implemented fully could make a major difference in how things are performed in Russia. I have confidence that all the international agencies, WADA, will be able to ensure that occurs.”
Richard McLaren delivers part two of his report. (ATR)
Among the report’s key findings:
- An institutional conspiracy existed across summer and winter sports. Athletes acting in organized structure.
- Urine sample swapping became a regular monthly practice of the Moscow Laboratory in dealing with elite summer and winter athletes.
- More than 1,000 Russian athletes can be identified as being involved in or benefiting from manipulations to conceal positive doping tests.
- Fifteen Russian medal winners at London 2012 were identified out of the London Washout Lists.
- Following the 2013 IAAF Moscow World Championships, four athletics athletes’ samples were swapped. Additional target testing is in progress.
Sochi 2014 Doping Control station (Getty Images)
The report, initially set up to by the World Anti-Doping Agency to substantiate claims of a doping operation during the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, found that at least 30 sports covered up samples in one of the most damning reports into doping in history.
The first report, delivered in July, put the International Olympic Committee in an awkward position ahead of the 2016 Olympics in Rio which began in August. IOC president Thomas Bach decided against a blanket ban of Russian athletes, leaving the decision on their participation to the International Federations.
McLaren called on the IOC and IFs to carefully review his report and that the evidence given could fully be trusted.
“It’s up to the different parties like the IOC and the federations, because all the federations have reports from us as well, for them to make their decisions and I don’t have comments about it except that they can rely on what’s in the reports and what is on the websites.”
McLaren claimed that Russia’s poor performance at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver prompted the development of a doping program that was “refined over the course of its use at the London 2012 Summer Games, Universiade Games 2013, the Moscow IAAF World Championships 2013 and the Winter Games in Sochi in 2014.”
Russia only won three gold medals at Vancouver 2010, placing 11th on the medal table. (Getty images)
The report also indicates that salt and coffee were used to manipulate samples on a “physiologically impossible scale”.
During Friday’s news conference, reaction from Russia was instant with Russian MP and head of the country’s curling federation Dmitry Svishchev saying “This is what we expected. There’s nothing new, only empty allegations against all of us. If you are Russian, you’ll get accused of every single sin.”
This week it was confirmed that pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva had been appointed as the head of a new board to oversee reforms at Russia’s suspended drug-testing agency RUSADA, a move that WADA said they were not consulted over.
Isinbayeva was herself part of the athletics team that was banned from competing at Rio 2016 by the IAAF, though she herself has not been accused of any wrongdoing.
McLaren though made an emotional plea to the world of sport to come together to find a way to banish doping once and for all.
“For years, international sports competitions have unknowingly been hijacked by the Russians. Coaches and athletes have been playing on an uneven field. Sports fans and spectators have been deceived. It’s time that this stops. Yes, STOPS.”
Written by Christian Radnedge in London.
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