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  • McLaren Report Demonstrates 'Fundamental Attack' on Olympic Values


    (ATR) The Olympic Movement is even more taken aback by the extent of the Russian doping scandal following the release of Richard McLaren’s second investigation into the conspiracy.

    Richard McLaren delivers part two of the report. (ATR)
    Olympic organizations from around the world are thanking the Canadian lawyer for his and his team’s efforts throughout the past year to uncover the most “unprecedented” doping cover-up in the history of the Olympics.

    The second McLaren report revealed more than 1,000 Russian athletes had benefited from the state-sponsored program enacted from at least 2011 through the Sochi 2014 Winter Games.

    The International Olympic Committee called the program “a fundamental attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games” and has set up two commissions to analyze the findings.

    "For me as an Olympian, any athlete or official who took part in such a sophisticated manipulation system should be excluded for life from any participation from the Olympic Games in whatever capacity," IOC president Thomas Bach said.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin at the opening of the Kazan 2013 Universiade. (Getty Images)
    The McLaren report revealed that it was not only Olympic athletes at the London and Sochi Games that had their doping results covered up.

    “This systematic and centralized cover up of doping control processes evolved and was refined over the course of its use at the London 2012 Summer Games, [FISU] Universiade Games 2013, the Moscow IAAF World Championships 2013 and the Winter Games in Sochi in 2014,” McLaren told reporters Friday morning.

    In response, the International Association of Athletics Federations has said it has already sanctioned more than half of the Russian track and field athletes identified in McLaren’s report and will continue to seek out individuals who have cheated their colleagues.

    “The IAAF has a history of comprehensive testing and a strong retesting strategy with samples stored back to 2007,” the federation said in a statement. “This has allowed us, using information shared by the McLaren team, to pursue an even more specific, intelligence-based retesting program. Russian samples from IAAF World Championships up to and including Moscow 2013 have been, or are in the process of being, reanalyzed.”

    The International Federation of University Sport (FISU) is also concerned about the connection to its flagship event the 2013 Universiade Games in Kazan, Russia and will consult with WADA and International Federations to determine the best course of action. The federation is led by Russian Oleg Matytsin.

    “FISU is deeply concerned to note references to athletes who competed at the 2013 Universiade and by Professor McLaren’s conclusion that sample swapping was trialed at Kazan 2013,” FISU said in a statement.

    The Russian Paralympic team at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Games. (Getty Images)
    The cover-ups also extended to Paralympic sports in Russia. Ahead of Rio 2016, the International Paralympic Committee went against the IOC and chose a blanket ban of the Russian Paralympic team following the findings from part one of the McLaren report. The IPC calls the latest findings “unprecedented and astonishing”.

    “They strike right at the heart of the integrity and ethics of sport,” the IPC statement reads. “We wholeheartedly agree with Professor McLaren that the best course of action is to work together to fix the broken and compromised anti-doping system in Russia.”

    The United States Olympic Committee continues its assertion that the entire anti-doping system needs to be reformed, highlighting the need for complete independence.

    “We need to continue to embrace the opportunity to shine a light on bad actors and take the necessary steps to make global anti-doping efforts independent, robust and respected by athletes and fans alike,” USOC spokesperson Patrick Sandusky tells Around the Rings.

    The Canadian Olympic Committee called the latest findings "significant and disturbing".

    "The findings in the report send another strong message to individuals or groups violating the code that they will face sanctions and suffer the consequences of their actions," COC president Tricia Smith said in a statement.

    Russian fans during the Sochi Olympics (ATR)
    While the majority of the sports world accepts the outcomes of the investigation and determines the next course of action, Russia maintains its proclamation of innocence. According to Russian news agency TASS, the new Russian sports minister Pavel Kolobkov continues to deny any cover-up conspiracy.

    "Mr. McLaren pronounced the words ‘institutional conspiracy’,” said Kolobkov. “That is an erroneous definition. There has not been and could not have been any conspiracy.”

    Kolobkov said Russian authorities are conducting their own investigation into the Moscow laboratory, passing the blame to former lab director Grigory Rodchenkov. Rodchenkov fled to the United States and first revealed the Sochi 2014 doping cover-up process in an article by the New York Times in May.

    World Anti-Doping Agency executive director Olivier Niggli says that Russian sports and doping controls have a long way to come before they can once again be trusted by the international sport community.

    “While some progress has been made with RUSADA’s efforts to regain compliance with the Code, there remain a number of challenges that must be addressed before that can happen,” said Niggli.

    Written by Kevin Nutley

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