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Saturday 14, Jan 2017

  US Figure Skater Had No Idea Of Russian Doping

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American figure skater Gracie Gold, who finished fourth at the Winter Games, said she never could have imagined the scope of Russian doping at the Sochi Olympics.

Russian Adelina Sotnikova won a surprising gold for the host nation. South Korea’s Yuna Kim could be elevated to the gold medal that would be second in a row at the Olympics if Adelina is stripped of the gold medal. Italy’s Carolina Kostner would get the silver and Gracie Gold would be awarded bronze.

The International Olympic Committee recently announced that 28 unidentified athletes across a variety of sports presently are under investigation. Italian newspaper La Gazetta dello Sport reported that Sotnikova is among them.

Russia came away from Sochi Olympics with an impressive medal haul in figure skating. The team of Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov took the gold medals; Sotnikova took the gold medal and Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov took silver in pairs, and the Russian squad captured gold in the new team event. Canada earned silver and the United States took bronze in the team event.

Gold said everything is still under investigation as far as she knows. The figure skater said she cannot really speak to that and added she has always chosen to skate clean. Gold added she does believe doping is unfair to all the other athletes and further said that is kind of what she has to say about that that she has always chosen to compete clean and compete my best as a clean athlete. Gold added however it is certainly causing some headlines, though. Gold said at least what the headlines are saying about the scope of the doping scandal in Sochi, she doesn’t think anyone could have expected anything so widespread. The American figure skater added she doesn’t think anyone expected that.

The 2012 World Junior silver medalist and a two-time U.S. national champion started skating at the age of 8. She competed in pairs with Sean Hickey and they placed eighth in juvenile pairs at the 2007 U.S. Junior Championships. She made her international debut at the Junior Grand Prix in Estonia and won the gold medal. Gold won gold in all seven of her competitions in the 2011-12 season. Gold placed first in the short program with 72.12 points at the 2014 U.S. Championships. This was the highest-ever ladies’ score earned at the U.S. Championships under the International Skating Union Judging System.

Gold remarked she competed against Adelina for many years. The US figure skater said she loved her and Adelina is still a sweetheart. Gold added she had found a lot of Russians to be kind of lovely people despite the stigma of doping that has become associated with them.

Recently, leaders from 19 national anti-doping agencies, including the United States, argued that Russia should be excluded from all international sports events, including next year’s Winter Games in South Korea. The national anti-doping agencies’ leaders also urged Russia to be stripped of its right to host major events such as next year’s World Cup.

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Saturday 15, Oct 2016

  More State-Sponsored Doping Anticipated By WADA

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Recently-appointed World Anti-Doping Agency director general Olivier Niggli has remarked an expanding investigations staff will be on the lookout for state-sponsored cheating in other nations after Russia’s widespread anti-doping violations at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

In an interview, Niggli remarked it has happened in one country and he believes it would be naive to think it is the only country. The director general of WADA said we have to have our eyes really open and also make sure we act on intelligence and information we might get.

State-directed manipulation of drug-testing results at the Moscow anti-doping lab from at least 2011 through the summer of 2013 was discovered through a report commissioned for WADA. More than 100 Russian athletes, including all but one member of the track and field team, were not allowed to participate in this year’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Niggli, a 46-year-old Swiss lawyer who replaced David Howman on July 1, remarked the World Anti-Doping Agency will have conversations with FIFA about testing at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Niggli was hired as the legal director of WADA in 2002 and added the title of finance director two years later before he left for a law firm in 2011. Niggli made a return to WADA two years ago as chief operating officer.

Niggli added it is still sufficiently far away to hope that things will have changed and improved in Russia. The World Anti-Doping Agency director general also remarked it is very important that we be able to work with the Russians to try to set up a system that is called compliant and that will provide some safeguards so that everybody regains confidence in what is going on there.

Niggli also rejected a suggestion by Russian President Vladimir Putin that athletes with therapeutic use exemptions be excluded from major competitions. The WADA director general said he does not think it is meaningful and remarked he thinks every human being has a right of being treated for medical conditions.

Niggli praised Major League Baseball, the NFL, and the NHL for their anti-doping programs that are subject to labor laws and negotiated with their unions. Niggli also said the World Anti-Doping Agency accepts decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport to cut the suspension of Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova from two years to 15 months. Sharapova, a winner of all four Grand Slam tournaments, tested positive for the heart drug Meldonium, added to the banned list this year. Niggli however remarked it was slightly surprising that at that level she would not get warned properly by her entourage.

In another development, WADA has joined hands with Astellas Pharma Inc and announced a global agreement to partner on the prevention of misuse and abuse of medicines for doping in sports. Astellas will help WADA in identifying compounds solely developed by Astellas or its affiliates with the potential for sport-related doping abuse. It will also cooperate in sharing relevant information to aid WADA in the organization’s development of detection methods for these compounds.

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Saturday 23, Jul 2016

  Ban Of Russian Track And Field Team Upheld By CAS

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The Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), sport’s highest tribunal, has rejected an appeal by Russia against a doping ban for its entire athletics team from the Rio Olympics.

In a statement, the CAS said it rejects the claims/appeal of the Russian Olympic Committee and 68 Russian athletes and backed right of the world governing body of athletics (IAAF) to suspend the Russian athletics federation.

The CAS decision also increases the possibility that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will now exclude Russia from all sports, not just track and field, in Rio de Janeiro. The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) remarked it was satisfied the Court of Arbitration for Sport has supported its position and added that the judgment had “created a level playing field for athletes”.

The IOC is presently reviewing calls to ban all Russian competitors from the Rio Games following a second report into state-sponsored doping. The report found evidence of Russian urine samples being “manipulated” across the “vast majority” of summer and winter Olympic sports from late 2011 to August 2015. The McLaren report confirmed doping allegations and tampering with samples during the Sochi Olympics. The report also revealed a larger system of covering up positive tests of doped Russian athletes that reached the highest levels of sport.

The system, termed the Disappearing Positive Methodology, revealed in the report included the Ministry of Sport, Center of Sports Preparation of the National Teams of Russia (CSP), Federal Security Service (FSB) and the Moscow and Sochi labs working in coordination from 2011 to 2015 to cover up 643 positive tests of athletes across 29 Olympic sports. The report also disclosed the system was led by Yury Nagognykh, the deputy sports minister and a member of the Russian Olympic Committee’s executive board, and included several top Russian sports officials.

The IOC committee said it is presently reviewing legal options for a ban of Russia entirely from the upcoming Olympics but wanted to consider the decision by the CAS.

Russian High jumper Maria Kuchina — a medal hopeful for the Games — said this was supposed to be her first Games and it is a serious blow to her — both as an athlete and as a person. Two-time Olympic pole vault gold medalist Yelena Isinbayeva remarked the ruling would deal a mortal blow to international athletics. The 34-year-old later wrote a post on Instagram that all Rio gold medals would be meaningless.

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said the CAS was absolutely violating the rights of clean athletes, creating a precedent of collective responsibility.

Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) honorary president Leonid Tyagachev remarked Vitaly Mutko and ROC head Alexander Zhukov are responsible for the exclusion of Russian athletes from the Rio Olympics. Tyagachev said Mutko needs to have a hard think and added it is impossible to continue to develop sport in this way.

Russia was suspended by the IAAF in November last year from track and field events after the publication of an independent World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report that showed a culture of widespread, state-sponsored doping.

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Tuesday 19, Jul 2016

  Russia Operated Doping Program At Sochi Winter Olympics, Says Report

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A report issued by Canadian law professor and sports lawyer Richard McLaren has confirmed evidence of widespread state-sponsored doping by Russian athletes at the Sochi Olympics.

The report, which was commissioned by of the World Anti-Doping Agency and was unveiled at a Toronto news conference, disclosed that Russian athletes were protected by the Moscow laboratory during the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.

McLaren, who was a member of the independent commission of WADA that last year exposed widespread doping and corruption in Russian track and field, disclosed the manipulation of athletes’ analytical results and sample swapping was overseen by the Russian Ministry of Sport. The recent findings would further deepen the doping crisis surrounding Russian athletes that has already sparked a growing movement to have a blanket ban of the country from the August 5-21 Rio Olympics. The track and field team of Russia is banned from international competition, including the Olympics.

The report of McLaren addressed accusations made by former Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory head Grigory Rodchenkov. The former anti-doping lab chief had remarked dozens of Russians made use of performance enhancing drugs in Sochi with approval from national sports authorities. Rodchenkov had claimed that he operated on instructions from Russia’s sports ministry. Last month, McLaren had remarked his preliminary findings supported allegations that the Russian sports ministry was involved in manipulating test results before, during and after the track and field world championships in Moscow in 2013.

McLaren said he cannot name specific athletes and did not mention specific sports but remarked that the report lists summer and winter sports that are affected. It was added by McLaren that every positive sample was sent up the chain of the command so the system in place at the Moscow lab would have affected the vast majority of sports.

The World Anti-Doping Agency can now push for further action against Russia. Former WADA president Dick Pound recently remarked the possibility of the entire Russian Olympics team being excluded from the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro would be the “nuclear option”.

In another development, a leaked draft letter has disclosed the United States and Canadian Anti-Doping Agencies want a complete ban on Russia competing at the Rio Olympics. United States Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart in the draft letter addressed to the International Olympic Committee, which was to be sent once McLaren’s report is presented called for a ban on all Russian athletes, not just in track and field. The draft letter signed by Tygart and Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sports CEO Paul Melia reads we write on behalf of a community of clean athletes and anti-doping organizations with faith that the IOC can lead the way forward by upholding the principles of Olympism. The draft letter further reads that we consistent with the Principles, Charter and Code request that the IOC Executive Board take the action to suspend the Russian Olympic and Paralympic Committee from participating in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. The letter also reads the only appropriate, and permissible, course of action in these unprecedented circumstances is for the IOC to immediately suspend the Russian Olympic and Paralympic Committees from the Olympic Movement and to declare that no athlete can represent Russia at the Rio Olympic Games.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: Russia Operated Doping Program At Sochi Winter Olympics, Says Report

Saturday 14, May 2016

  Ex-Russian Official Opens Up About Massive Doping

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The former head of Russian’s anti-doping laboratory told The New York Times Russian officials took clean urine from athletes, months before the 2014 Sochi Olympics and transported it in baby bottles and soda containers as part of a strategy to evade doping tests.

Grigory Rodchenkov, working with a filmmaker on a documentary, provided details of the elaborate scheme that he said involved dozens of Russian athletes and officials. Rodchenkov remarked tainted samples were replaced for at least three gold medalists.

The NY Times report was described by the International Olympic Committee as “very worrying.” The IOC said Olympic officials would work with the World Anti-Doping Agency to investigate these claims.

Few months back, Vitaly Stepanov, who had a low-level job of collecting urine and blood samples for Russia’s anti-doping agency, disclosed Rodchenkov told him that at least four Russians won gold medals at the Sochi Olympics while on anabolic steroids and the Russian anti-doping lab covered it up. Stepanov also disclosed that agents the FSB (the Russian equivalent of FBI), worked as doping control officers during the Sochi games and also commented that the FSB tried to control every single step of the anti-doping process in Sochi. The details offered by Rodchenkov added more evidence to claims made by Stepanov that the government of Russia was deeply involved to cheat and cover up the doping. It was also claimed by Rodchenkov that he offered a cocktail of anabolic steroids mixed with liquor to some athletes, using Scotch whisky for men and vermouth for women.

The IOC said in a statement these allegations are very detailed and very worrying and we ask the World Anti-Doping Agency to investigate immediately. Prior to the publication of the NY Times story, the IOC’s medical director Dr. Richard Budgett said the IOC was considering retesting samples from the Sochi Olympics. However, this may not prove useful as Rodchenkov claims tainted urine was flushed down the toilet after it was replaced.

Commenting on the claims, outgoing WADA director general David Howman said it shows the system can be broken rather simply. Howman added it looks on the surface there might have been quite a big ‘get away’ and added the real question is the way this is a systematic program.

Beckie Scott, chair of the athletes’ commission, made an emotional plea to the foundation board in which he urged WADA to use its influence to keep Russian drug cheats out of the Rio Games. Scott, who won bronze at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games but was upgraded to gold, remarked we acknowledge that WADA does not have jurisdiction over the Olympic Games and added but WADA does have, however, influence and clean athletes of the world propose that you use that influence with respect to Rio and Game beyond.

Reacting to the allegations, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko defended athletes of the country. Mutko said they are outstanding athletes and the accusations are absurd. The sports minister added the accusations against them are absolutely groundless and added we will study this article and will decide how to react.

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Sunday 08, May 2016

  Sochi Doping Allegations Dismissed By Russia As ‘Speculation’

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Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko has remarked accusations that four gold medal winners from Russia at the Sochi Olympics made use of performance enhancing drugs are just “speculation.”

The allegations were made by former Russian anti-doping officer Vitaly Stepanov in an interview with “60 Minutes” due to air this Sunday. An excerpt was shown on Friday by “CBS Evening News.”

Stepanov said former head of the Moscow anti-doping laboratory Grigory Rodchenkov told him intelligence officers of Russia assisted athletes of the country in covering up use of performance enhancing drugs. Stepanov also said Rodchenkov has a “Sochi list” of Russians who competed in the 2014 Winter Olympics on anabolic androgenic steroids, including at least four gold medal winners. Hosts Russia won 13 gold medals at Sochi.

A WADA independent commission report in November claimed Rodchenkov requested and accepted money to conceal positive drug tests after which he immediately resigned.

Reacting to the allegations, Russian Sports Minister said Stepanov is riding his hobby-horse again. Mutko added he will endlessly talk about doping in Russian sports and also commented this was in the German TV Channel ARD’s documentary entitled Geheimsache Doping – Secret Doping Case and appeared in later films. In the German documentary, Stepanov and his wife, banned athlete Yuliya Stepanova claimed systematic doping in Russian athletics in 2014. Their allegations were later supported by a report of the World Anti-Doping Agency independent commission that found evidence of “state-sponsored” doping and widespread corruption. The sports minister of Russia also remarked all his so-called revelations are based on speculations and are being actively distributed.

Mutko also said the Olympics in Sochi have ended a long time ago and also said not Russia collected doping tests then and everything was held under very strict control. The Moscow anti-doping lab operated on-site testing facilities at the Sochi Olympics although it was under the supervision of the International Olympic Committee. The Russian Sports Minister also said our athletes will have to perform at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. It is obvious that someone wants to harm Russian sports. Mutko also said Stepanov has exhausted the topic of doping in athletics, now he has probably started with the Sochi Olympics.

In November, the International Association of Athletics Federations suspended Russia. An IAAF council meeting in June will decide if the track and field team of Russia can compete in the Rio Olympics in August. Russia now has to convince the IAAF, the world governing body of athletics, that it has put measures in place to show anti-doping operation improvement and a “change of culture.”

The Rio athletics program starts on August 12 but registration are required to be completed about a month before. This would leave little time for the vast majority of Russian athletes who would still need to record Olympic-standard qualifying times.

US Anti-Doping Agency chief Travis Tygart said Russian athletics has not done enough to warrant reinstatement. Tygart added USADA is “not in favor” of Russian athletes competing in Rio Olympics.

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Saturday 24, Jan 2015

  Olympic Doping Appeal Of Backstrom Resolved With Reprimand

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Olympic Doping Appeal Of Backstrom Resolved With Reprimand

Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom has withdrawn his appeal against ruling of the International Olympic Committee that he violated World Anti-Doping Agency law.

Backstrom, the Swedish professional ice hockey centre and an alternate captain for the Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League, was allowed to keep the silver medal he earned playing for Sweden in the Sochi Olympics last February. The Court of Arbitration for Sport said Backstrom had not intended to gain any competitive advantage by using the medication.

According to a joint announcement between Backstrom, WADA, and the IOC, Backstrom agreed upon a reprimand that is the minimum application sanction permitted by the WADA code. The announcement said the final decision was reached for Backstrom to remove his appeal and the World Anti-Doping Agency to issue a reprimand after constructive discussions between Backstrom’s representatives and those of the IOC, WADA, and the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF).

It was also revealed by the announcement that at no time was Backstrom’s receipt of his Olympic silver medal at issue in the proceedings before the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The announcement emphasized that Backstrom did not intend to enhance his sport performance by taking a prohibited substance, that the prohibited substance (PSE) was contained within a product Backstrom was taking for medical reasons, that Backstrom relied on the specific advice of his team doctor that his use of the product would not give rise to a positive sample, and that he openly disclosed the product on the doping control form at the time of the doping control.

Backstrom received the full support of Coach Barry Trotz, his teammates, and NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly when it emerged that the World Anti-Doping Agency had appealed the IOC’s decision to exonerate Backstrom. In early December, Daly said the NHL supports Nick in this circumstance and added that he thinks there were unfair circumstances surrounding the determination, and unfortunately it is still in litigation.

The 27-year-old Swede was judged to have committed an anti-doping rule violating on March 14, 2014 based on elevated pseudoephedrine levels. Backstrom tested positive for pseudoephedrine after Sweden’s win over Slovenia in the Olympic quarterfinals on February 19, 2014. The Washington Capitals centre claimed the stimulant was contained in a sinus medication he had been taking for allergies. Nicklas Backstrom was suspended and pulled from the Swedish team just hours before the February 23 gold-medal game, which Sweden lost 3-0 to Canada. The timing of the decision angered the Swedes who said it affected the team’s performance.

Pseudoephedrine is an ingredient found in his allergy medication not banned by the National Hockey League (NHL). This resulted in Backstrom getting barred from playing in the gold medal game. Later, Backstrom was awarded his silver medal in a ceremony in Sweden on August 28.

On April 2, 2014, Backstrom filed his appeal and challenged that an anti-doping rule violation had occurred. The World Anti-Doping Agency filed its appeal on October 9, 2014 and tried to counter ruling of the IIHF Disciplinary Committee that Backstrom had not violated the WADA code.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: Olympic Doping Appeal Of Backstrom Resolved With Reprimand