MOSCOW, November 29. /TASS/. The chief coach of Russia’s luge team, Albert Demchenko, has thanked the president of the International Luge Federation (FIL), Josef Fendt, for standing by Russian athletes. In a TASS interview, Demchenko also invited the informer of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Grigory Rodchenkov to get a taste of his own doping drink, dubbed Duchess, on a luge track.
Fendt warned Germany’s Bild magazine on Tuesday the International Olympic Committee would make the wrong decision if it barred Russian athletes from the 2018 Winter Olympics.
"We are very glad the chief of the international federation supports us during these tough times for Russian sports," Demchenko emphasized. "He knows better than anybody else that doping in luge in no way enhances results. For an athlete to clock a better time a sober and clear mind is far more important than physical strength. As far as I know, doping formulas have never helped boost anyone’s mental abilities."
Fendt, who turned 70 in October, has been the FIL president since 1994. He was a silver medalist of the 1976 Innsbruck Olympics in the men’s singles. In addition, he has two gold medals under his belt, which he won as a member of West Germany’s team in the 1970 and 1974 world championships.
"Our sport is akin to chess or Formula-1 racing," Demchenko said. "As for Rodchenkov and all others who think that the ‘Duchess cocktail’ can help (them) perform better, we may offer them a chance to try their skills on the luge track after a gulp of this wonder-working drink mix. It remains to be seen, though, how far they will get and if they find the doping drink effective enough. My expectations on that score are not very bright."
The former chief of the Moscow anti-doping laboratory Rodchenkov gave WADA what he said was a list of athletes who on the eve of the 2014 Winter Olympics allegedly had used a doping cocktail that he concocted and named after a popular Soviet-era soft drink. The International Olympic Committee found the Rodchenkov list to be sufficient grounds to strip several Russian athletes of their medals that they had won in Sochi.