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Russian Sports Ministry may sue The New York Times over doping story

May 13, 16:00 UTC+3
In an interview with New York Times ex-head of Moscow anti-doping laboratory Grigory Rodchenkov claimed the Russian sports authorities allegedly prepared a special doping program for national athletes
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© EPA/MAXIM SHIPENKOV

MOSCOW, May 13. /TASS/. The Russian Sports Ministry may file a lawsuit against The New York Times, which published a story about the alleged doping abuse by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, deputy minister Yuri Nagornykh told TASS on Friday.

"Yes, we are considering a lawsuit," he said.

In an interview with New York Times, published on Thursday, ex-head of Moscow anti-doping laboratory Grigory Rodchenkov claimed that the Russian sports authorities allegedly prepared a special doping program for national athletes in order to win most of the medals at home Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014. The ex-doping official said some Russian Olympic gold medalists in Sochi took banned substances.

The Russian Olympic team finished the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi in the first place with the overall result of 33 won medals (13 gold, 11 silver and 9 bronze medals) surpassing its previous Winter Olympics record of 11 gold medals, set at the 1994 Winter Games in Norway’s Lillehammer.

Russia never had any doping program

According to the official, Russia never had any doping program in sports and recent allegations provided in US daily New York Times are groundless.

"They [US journalists] sent us a list of athletes although we were not asking for it," Nagornykh said in an interview with TASS. "They have asked us to comment on the names of 66 athletes on the list, who were part of the country’s so-called doping program."

"We replied that we never had any such program," the Russian sports official said.

"We had a program of preparations for the 2014 Olympics and it was strict and concise regarding every single provision," Nagornykh said. "The program stipulated set tasks and means to achieve them."

Nagornykh noted that the Russian Sports Ministry can only guess what made Grigory Rodchenkov say what he said about Russian athletes.

"He may be dissatisfied with his current position or have unrealized creative ambitions. It may also be the season, which affects people. We can only guess about the reasons behind Rodchenkov’s statements," Nagornykh said.

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