By Adebayo Williams
A report accusing Russia of using its secret service to cover-up mass doping among its athletes surfaced yesterday to the amazement of the sports world. In the report, submitted by a Canadian law professor Richard McLaren, the Russian government had used Evgeny Blokhin of the Federal Security Service to switch positive samples at the Sochi laboratory during the Olympics. It said Blokhin had posed as a sewer engineer to gain entry into the laboratory. The crime was revealed when McLaren sent samples from the lab to check if they had been opened and all the bottles were reported to have been tampered with. The Russian deputy sports minister, Yuri Nagornykh, had referred to the agents as ‘magicians’.
The report has led to suggestions that the International Olympic Committee will enforce a total ban on Russia. Already, the head of United States Anti-Doping Agency, Travis Tygart has thrown his weight behind the calls.
“The McLaren report has concluded a mind-blowing level of corruption within both Russian sport and government that goes right to the field of play and, most importantly, our hearts go out to athletes from all over the world who were robbed of their Olympic dreams,” said Tygart.
“We must come together as an international community, those who believe in the spirit of Olympism, to ensure this unprecedented level of criminality never again threatens the sports we cherish.”
The reports also states that Between 2012 and 2015, at least 312 positive tests were covered up across 28 sports. Overall there were 577 positive samples, including 139 in athletics, 117 in weightlifting, 26 in cycling, and 11 in football and rowing. Observers say the mass doping was as a result of the nation’s poor performance at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada.
Former Moscow and Sochi anti-doping laboratory boss Grigory Rodchenkov had admitted to developing a cocktail of banned drugs that was difficult to detect. He said anabolic steroids metanolone, oral turinabol and oxandrolone were mixed with whiskey for men and vermouth for women. He said Irina Rodionova, deputy director of the Center of Sports Preparation of National Teams of Russia, was in charge of distributing the cocktail.