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WADA: Russian Sports Ministry covered up doping abuse at 2014 Sochi Games

According to WADA, the anti-doping laboratory in Sochi used a unique doping sample swapping methodology allowing Russian dirty athletes to continue performing at home 2014 Winter Olympic Games

TORONTO, July 18. /TASS/. Allegations on a large-scale doping abuse among Russian athletes as well as on samples swapping and other doping manipulations at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi with the state support and assistance from the Sports Ministry were confirmed on Monday in a report from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Independent Commission.

During the news conference on Monday in Toronto, Canadian law professor Richard McLaren, who chaired the WADA Independent Commission, said the commission’s probe established three main facts investigating the case of the 2014 Winter Olympics, hosted by Russia’s resort city of Sochi.

"Firstly, the Moscow Laboratory operated, for the protection of doped Russian athletes, within a State-dictated failsafe system, described in the report as the Disappearing Positive Methodology," McLaren said. "Secondly, The Sochi Laboratory operated a unique sample swapping methodology to enable doped Russian athletes to compete at the Games."

"Thirdly, 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 [Federal Security Service], CSP [Center of Sports Preparation of National Teams of Russia], and both Moscow and Sochi Laboratories," he said.

"I am unwaveringly confident in my report," McLaren said.

Asked whether the commission would make any recommendations, McLaren said "My task is to investigate and establish facts."

"Therefore, I have no recommendations, this is not my task," he added.

After the Independent Commission delivered its report, WADA spokesperson Ben Nichols urged the international sports society to ban Russian athletes from taking part in all international athletic competitions, including the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Brazil next month.

"WADA calls on Sport Movement to deny Russian athletes participation at international competitions including Rio until ‘culture change’ achieved," Ben Nichols, a spokesman for WADA, wrote in his Twitter account after the investigation’s finding were made public in the commission’s report.

"McLaren investigation into doping in Russia reveals most deliberate and disturbing abuse of power ever seen in sport," Nichols wrote. "Doping scheme across 30 sports mean there can no longer be presumption of innocence."

The WADA Independent Commission launched its investigation following media reports earlier in the year which were based on a testimony from former head of Moscow anti-doping laboratory Grigory Rodchenkov.

Two months ago Rodchenkov told Western media that Russian athletes largely used performance enhancing drugs at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi with the approval from the national sports authorities.

In an interview with New York Times, published in mid-May, Rodchenkov claimed that an unnamed official from the Russian Sports Ministry used sending him lists of national athletes, whose doping samples he had to swap during the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Rodchenkov also said that he developed a special cocktail consisting of three banned doping substances intended for the national athletes at home Games two years ago.

On the whole, the ex-doping official 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. Rodchenkov added that some Russian Olympic gold medalists in Sochi took banned substances.

The Russian Olympic team finished the 2014 Olympics in Sochi in the first place of the medals standings 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.