The World Anti-Doping Agency has announced the findings of its report into the state-sponsored cheating by Russian athletes, confirming that at least 580 positive tests were covered up by the nation’s Ministry of Sport from 2011 through the 2015 across several sports.
Positive tests by athletes would go missing at major global championships in swimming, track and field and weightlifting.
According to the investigation, which was led by Canadian law professor Richard McLaren, the Russian government, including the Ministry of Sport, the Center for Sports Preparation and the FSB, instituted an advanced program to circumvent the WADA drug testing. These infractions took place at the 2014 Sochi Games and other international competitions, where Russia skirted rules using what investigators have called a “disappearing positive methodology.”
The results of the investigation have led WADA to recommend a total Olympic and Paralympic ban for Russian athletes at the 2016 Rio Games.
Below are the three key findings of the report:
1. The Moscow Laboratory operates, for the protection of Russian athletes, within a State-dictated failsafe system, described in the report as the Disappearing Positive Methodology.
2. The Sochi Laboratory operated a unique sample swapping methodology to enable doped Russian athletes to compete at the Games.
3. The Ministry of Sport directed, controlled and oversaw the manipulation of athlete's analytical results or sample swapping, with the active participation and assistance of the FSB, CSP, and both Moscow and Sochi Laboratories.
All levels of the Russia's sports governance were implicated in the report including the Ministry of Sport, Center of Sports Preparation, the KGB as well as the Federal Security Service. All positive tests from the Moscow WADA lab were sent to the deputy minister of sport to make a decision on whether a positive test were to be examined or disregarded.
The Russian officials named in the report will be suspended, Russian president Vladimir Putin said in a statement.
Putin also said he believes the timing of the report is more about politics than sports.
"Now we are witnessing a dangerous relapse of politics’ interference into sports,” Putin said via TASS. “Yes, formats of such interference have changed but its essence is the same - to make sports an instrument of geopolitical pressure, of forming a negative image of countries and nations. The Olympic movement which is playing a colossal uniting role for the humankind may once again be driven to the brink of a split.
“Now, the so-called doping scandals have come into play, attempts are being made to extend the sanctions for the exposed doping abuse cases to all, including ‘clean’ athletes under the pretext of alleged protecting their interests.”
Russian athletes were also tested before the London Olympics in order to determine the likelihood of a positive test and whether they should withdraw from competition due to the risk. Of the 48 athletes that were pre-tested, 11 won medals at the Summer Games.
The claims were first brought to light in may when Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of the program’s Moscow laboratory, revealed the anti-doping measures to the New York Times in May.
The International Association of Athletics Federation has already banned all Russian track and field athletes from this summer’s Olympic Games, and it has been reported that a group of anti-doping officials are asking that the entire nation be removed from competition in light of the recent findings about the scope of the performance enhancing drug use by Russian athletes.
139 track and field athletes were named in WADA’s report, prompting the IAAF to promise that it will seek additional information about these athletes.