Thursday May 12th, 2016

A lab director at the 2014 Olympics says that he provided athletes with a three-drug cocktail of banned substances mixed with liquor in a systemic and state-run doping operation by Russia, according to an investigation by The New York Times.

The operation reportedly involved four members of Russia’s cross-country ski team and two bobsledders who won two gold medals.

Russian anti-doping experts and members of the country’s intelligence services would also replace urine samples that were tainted by performance-enhancing drugs with clean urine collected months earlier. Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, who was in charge of the testing lab, estimated that as many as 100 dirty urine samples were expunged.

The cocktails consisted of performance enhancing drugs that would help athletes recover faster and improve endurance. Alcohol (Chivas whiskey for men and Martini vermouth for women) was used to speed up absorption of the steroids and shorten the detection window for testing. Dr. Rodchenkov was sure to use one milligram of the steroid mixture for every milliliter of alcohol.

Russia topped the medal table with 33 medals, including 13 golds. Russian athletes did not test positive at the Olympics but did top the WADA report on positive tests by country for 2014.

“People are celebrating Olympic champion winners, but we are sitting crazy and replacing their urine,” Dr. Rodchenkov told the Times. “Can you imagine how Olympic sport is organized?”

Last week, a Russian whistleblower told CBS’s 60 Minutes that the former director of the Moscow anti-doping lab informed him that four Russian gold medalists from the Sochi Olympics used steroids.

Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko struck back and called the allegations “a continuation of the information attack on Russian sport.”

• Kenya at risk of missing Olympics, after non-compliant of doping rules

The International Olympic Committee said that it “would not hesitate” to retest drug samples from the 2014 Olympics, if there is evidence that doping controls were manipulated.

American filmmaker, Bryan Fogel, is working on a documentary on Dr. Rodchenkov. He provided Fogel and The Times with emails that detailed doping efforts and a spreadsheet that he said was sent to him by the sports ministry before the Olympics. He also listed the athletes involved in the doping ring.

The report could lead the International Association of Athletics Federations, track and field’s governing body, to look into whether or not Russia’s Track and Field team will be allowed to compete at the Summer Olympics in Rio. The team has been suspended from international competition after the World Anti-Doping Agency uncovered evidence of systemic doping and cover-ups of positive tests by athletes, coaches and agents.

The report by WADA was released in November. Rodchenkov resigned and moved to Los Angeles for his safety. After he left, two of his close colleagues died unexpectedly in February. Both were anti-doping officials in the country, with one resigning when Dr. Rodchenkov fled the country.

The IAAF will hear from the WADA task force at a council meeting on June 17 in Vienna, where it is expected to make a decision on Russia’s participation in Rio.

Russia will also host the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

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