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Tuesday 30, Aug 2016

  Russia Banned From 2018 Winter Games Over Doping

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The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has suspended Russia, which was already suspended from next month’s Rio Paralympics, for the winter edition in Pyeongchang, South Korea in 2018 because of a state-sponsored sports doping program.

The latest punishment handed out by the IPC was announced by the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) on Tuesday. The RPC said on its website the decision taken by the IPC, upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) regarding Russian Paralympians being excluded from the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, has also been extended to include the Winter Games in 2018 in Pyeongchang.

A few days back, the Court of Arbitration for Sport, sport’s highest tribunal, rejected an appeal by the RPC against the Rio ban. Russia has already appealed against the CAS ruling to the Swiss Federal Court and a result is expected soon. The Federal Court can only overturn the decision by CAS on the basis of a procedural mistake and not on the merits of the case.

The IPC decision to exclude the team of Russia means at least 260 competitors from the country are now set to miss the September 7-18 Paralympics.

The president of the IPC, Sir Philip Craven, remarked after the ban on Russia was announced for the Rio Games that he hopes the ban will act as a catalyst for change in Russia. Craven remarked after the CAS endorsed its ban on Russia Paralympians that we are greatly encouraged that the CAS panel has upheld the IPC governing board’s unanimous decision to hold the Russian Paralympic Committee accountable for its membership responsibilities and obligations. The IPC President added the CAS decision underlines our strong belief that doping has absolutely no place in Paralympic sport and further improves our ability to ensure fair competition and a level playing field for all Para athletes around the world.

A few days back, Moscow acknowledged mistakes it had made in tackling sports doping. Russian President Vladimir Putin called the Paralympic ban cynical and immoral and remarked the decision to bar Russian athletes, including those who had not tested positive for any banned substances, was a vivid manifestation of how the humanistic foundations of sport and Olympism are shamelessly flouted by politics. Putin went on to add that the decision to disqualify our Paralympic team is outside the law, outside morality and outside humanity. The Russian head of state also remarked it is simply cynical to vent one’s anger on those for whom sport has become the meaning of their life and also commented that he even feels pity for those taking such decisions because they must well understand that it is so demeaning for them.

David Weir, Great Britain’s leading wheelchair athlete, extended his support behind decision of the IPC to exclude Russia from the Rio 2016 Paralympics. The 10-time Paralympic medalist, who won four gold medals at London 2012, said the IPC decision is a bold step, but a right one in the wake of widespread evidence of a State-sponsored doping program.

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Sunday 31, Jan 2016

  Former Associate Of Pharmacists Assists Doping Inquiry

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Gerry Ramogida, a prominent sports chiropractor who works for the Seattle Seahawks and has treated Olympic athletes from Canada and Britain, had reached out to the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, the organization that oversees the country’s anti-doping program.

Ramogida is cooperating with Canadian anti-doping officials in the wake of an Al Jazeera report that alleged a network of people who claimed to have offered performance enhancing drugs to professional athletes. Ramogida vehemently denied any involvement with performance enhancing drugs and also remarked he had no knowledge that some business associates were associated with doping. Ramogida went on to add that he learned of the activities only after Al Jazeera brought it to his attention.

In the documentary (“The Dark Side: The Secret World of Sports Doping”), the business associates — Charles Sly and Chad Robertson, both pharmacists, and Brandon Spletzer, a naturopath — were shown talking openly about providing illicit drugs to athletes. In the documentary, Sly suggested that Peyton Manning had used human growth hormone. Later, a YouTube statement was posted by Sly in which he insisted that everything he told the Al Jazeera reporter was untrue. An undercover reporter was told by Robertson that they were developing a telemedicine clinic with Ramogida called ProMed and this clinic would provide second opinions to athletes after they have been treated by team doctors. Ramogida was recruited to participate in the venture but backed out before the December report of Al Jazeera.

Gerry Ramogida remarked he believes his business partners recruited him as a conduit to top athletes and added he was an unwitting pawn unaware of the ulterior motives of his partners. In a statement, Ramogida said he can’t emphasize strongly enough that at no point was there ever any discussions — nor even the slightest hint — of anything to do with banned substances and also said hence his utter shock at seeing the Al Jazeera documentary.

It was confirmed by the Seahawks, the Vancouver Canucks of the N.H.L. and Fortius Sport & Health, a sports medicine and training center in the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby that Ramogida came forward to tell them about his association with Robertson, Spletzer, and ProMed before the Al Jazeera report was broadcast. Craig Thompson, president and chief executive of Fortius, said we stand by Gerry 100 percent and added there is no evidence or even the slightest suggestion linking him to PEDs, which are of course the complete antithesis of everything Gerry has stood for throughout his career.

Sarah Teetzel, an associate professor of kinesiology at the University of Manitoba, remarked naturopaths haven’t really been part of the conversation of doping development and added a team doctor knows if they are found to have supplied an athlete, there are consequences.

Paul Melia, the chief executive of CCES, said it is always disturbing to hear of these kinds of allegations to the extent that the documentary suggests that it is going on. Melia added CCES was increasingly focused on the “supply chain” and the network of people who provide performance enhancing drugs to athletes.

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Wednesday 22, Apr 2015

  Russia’s Doping No Worse Than Europe, Says Sports Minister

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Russia’s Doping No Worse Than Europe, Says Sports Minister

Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko has remarked that the sports doping rate of the country is no worse than in other European countries. In a rare meeting with foreign reporters, Mutko said Russia has made a “colossal” effort to catch cheats by carrying out up to 20,000 tests a year.

Mutko said Russia has made really colossal efforts in fight against doping in the last five years and Russia has done so with WADA and with international federations and added it took some countries decades to do the same. The Russian minister also said international doping investigators now have free access to all Russian athletes and Russia has a new laboratory in Moscow that matches “really top international standards”. Mutko also commented independence of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency was guaranteed by law. He went on to remark that the country has 9,000 international level athletes and many of them spend 70 percent of the year abroad where they undergo checks.

On the sidelines of the SportAccord convention in Sochi, Mutko said only two percent of our athletes are being caught doping and that is really a normal indicator just as in all other European countries. The Sports Minister added we are sure that Russia is a reliable partner in anti-doping and we have done and are going to do these activities in a very tough way.

In December, a German television documentary alleged widespread doping had been covered up, especially in athletics. The sports machine of Russia is under investigation by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) after the documentary. Meanwhile, the IAAF has initiated proceedings against Viktor Chegin, who has trained more than 20 athletes caught for doping in recent years and heads the Russian race-walking centre in Saransk.

New Russian athletics coach Yuri Borzakovsky defended controversial race walking coach Viktor Chegin who is presently under investigation by the IAAF as part of its probe into Russian doping. Borzakovsky said Chegin will remain on the Russian team until there’s an official piece of paper saying he’s accused of something or other.

Mutko raised doubts about the tests raised in the television documentary. The Sports minister said it looks like someone has kept them hidden somewhere and then under certain circumstances they have taken them out to confront us. Mutko insisted that his country has acted “in good faith” and many athletes and coaches received life bans even if they were star performers. He also said we are ready to invite foreign experts for each step of the anti-doping procedure even for several years to end all these doubts and claims made about our country so we can cooperate in good faith.

In another development, IAAF President Lamine Diack said Russia will not be barred from major athletics competitions due to allegations of systematic doping. The IAAF ethics commission and the World Anti-Doping Agency are presently investigating Russia over claims that Russian officials ran a sophisticated doping program. Diack said Russia is a great nation of athletics and compared the doping problem of Russia to the scandals in the United States in the 1990s. The IAAF President said Russia’s doping problem should be solved in a similar way with stricter enforcement by an independent agency.

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Wednesday 31, Jul 2013

  French Senate Lays Bare Doping

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French Senate Lays Bare Doping

A French Senate inquiry into sports doping has revealed the top two in the 1998 Tour de France – Italian Marco Pantani and Germany’s Jan Ullrich – were taking the banned blood booster erythropoietin (EPO).

The medical stubs enclosed in the 918-page report also revealed that American Lance Armstrong tested positive for EPO in 1999. The 21-member parliamentary group, just three days after the end of the 100th Tour, said a “truth and reconciliation” commission should be created to lift the veil of silence on illegal practices. It was recommended by the group that the French government finance studies about the extent of doping, its risks, and the range of drugs used.

Parliamentarian Jean-Jacques Lozach, the group’s spokesman, said we cannot properly fight something that we don’t understand and added that speaking of doping doesn’t harm sport but instead contributes in the medium and long term to restore its greatness and not speaking about it often means not doing anything. Lozach said the anti-doping fight would be a lot more effective if the different actors in sports, law enforcement and justice cooperated.

The five-month investigation by the 21-member Senate group recommended that sporting calendars be approved by the sports minister to reduce the taxing schedules that it said created favorable conditions for doping. It also suggested that blood and urine samples should be used to test for more substances at the same time to cut down on the volume of samples and streamline the testing process.

The list of athletes who tested positive for EPO during the 1998 Tour included Ullrich and Pantani. In June this year, Ullrich admitted he underwent blood doping procedures and was banned in 2012 for two years for a doping offense. Last month, sports daily L’Equipe reported that a 1998 urine sample from Frenchman Laurent Jalabert showed traces of the banned blood-booster EPO when it was re-tested in 2004, a result confirmed in the Senate report. In May, Jalabert told the French commission that he is convinced today that one can do the Tour de France without doping and obtain results. He added that he will admit that cycling is a discipline that deserves blame, but I’d really like to see the day when we recognize that it was a sport that was a vanguard in anti-doping, and which assumed its responsibilities. Jalabert added that it is unfair to represent it today as the only sport that involves cheaters.

Meanwhile, Jacky Durand, a now-retired winner of three stages on the Tour who was also named in the report, said he accepted responsibility for his doping but added that the new generation shouldn’t have to pay for the stupid things we did in the past.

In another development, Australian Tour de France stage winner Stuart O’Grady who recently admitted using the banned blood-booster EPO before the notorious 1998 Tour de France may lose his three national citations, which include an Order of Australia Medal awarded in 2005. The cyclist could also be stripped of his Olympic medals after admitting to using performance enhancing drugs.

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Tuesday 30, Jul 2013

  Cycling Australia Shattered By O’Grady’s Doping Admission

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Cycling Australia Shattered By O’Grady’s Doping Admission

Cycling Australia (CA) says the doping admission of Australian cyclist Stuart O’Grady is a “real disappointment” but expressed confidence that cycling can regain public confidence.

The cyclist admitted to using the banned blood boosting agent Erythropoietin (EPO), just three days after he announced his retirement from cycling. The 39-year-old cyclist had been named in a French Senate inquiry into sports doping, which looked at the 1998 Tour and found the top three finishers, Italian Marco Pantani, Germany’s Jan Ullrich, and American Bobby Julich, were taking EPO. The cyclist remarked he used EPO in the 1998 Tour de France that was overshadowed by the Festina doping scandal. The celebrated cyclist recently announced his retirement after helping his GreenEdge team to a time trial victory in this year’s Tour, his 17th appearance tying the record of American George Hincapie. The Australian cyclist was among 12 riders whose tests were said to be “suspicious” and the 39-year-old did not waste time confirming he had used EPO.

Cycling Australia chief executive Graham Fredericks says his organization was shocked by O’Grady’s admission and added this is a real disappointment to us as a custodian of the sport. He added Cycling Australia can only take a fairly hard line in response to this news overnight. Immediately after his confession, the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) called for him to resign from its Athletes’ Commission. However, his most recent professional team, GreenEDGE, released a statement supporting his decision to admit to doping, and said it is now O’Grady’s responsibility to help rebuild the public trust in the sport. The statement also said that one mistake should not tarnish an exceptional career.

A six-time Olympian and world champion on the track, O’Grady insisted his doping in 1998 was a one-off bad decision. Cycling Australia chief executive Graham Fredericks however said the decorated career of the cyclist would remain clouded and remarked Stuart has been one of Australia’s most enduring road riders who appear to have made a poor decision which will regrettably now have an impact on the legacy of his career.

The cyclist may be stripped of his Olympic medals after admitting to using performance enhancing drugs at the 1998 Tour de France. Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) spokesman Mike Tancred remarked it’s a matter for the international federation in regard to the medals, so the UCI (International Cycling Union) will consider the medals and they will then make some recommendation to the IOC (International Olympic Commission). O’Grady may also stand to lose his three national citations, which include an Order of Australia Medal awarded in 2005.

Cycling Australia however declined to condemn O’Grady, blaming the era and the European “environment”. In a statement, the governing body said the late 1990s was clearly a dark period in cycling’s international history. AOC president John Coates said in a statement remarked the “everybody else was doing it” line was no defense for cheating and remarked this was a shameful period for the sport of cycling which has been well documented, that is no excuse for the decision taken by Stuart O’Grady.

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Monday 14, Jan 2013

  Armstrong Apologizes To People In Cycling Community

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Armstrong Apologizes To People In Cycling Community

Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong has made a series of phone calls and apologized directly to key people in the cycling community in what is seen by many as a valiant attempt by him to restore his image. On the eve of Monday’s taped interview with Oprah Winfrey, this is an attempt from the cyclist to prepare himself and others for what is anticipated to be a partial confession and for making amends with those to whom he lied and misled about sports doping.

The much-awaited interview of Armstrong with Oprah Winfrey will mark the first public comments he has made about the widespread allegations in a 1,000-page document that was released late last year by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. The USADA report that was based on the testimony of 11 of Armstrong’s former teammates led to the cyclist being stripped of his seven consecutive Tour de France titles and banned for life from cycling.

The USADA “reasoned decision” concluded that Armstrong’s cycling heroics were the result of “the most sophisticated, professional and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.” The evidence included sworn statements of more than two dozen (24+) witnesses, including fifteen (15) professional cyclists, and a dozen (12) members of Armstrong’s cycling teams, including eleven (11) former teammates and his former soigneur (masseuse). The cyclist was accused of using and/or attempting use of prohibited substances and/or methods including EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone, corticosteroids and/or masking agents. Lance Armstrong was also accused of assisting, encouraging, aiding,  abetting, covering up and other complicity involving one or more anti-doping rule violations and/or attempted anti-doping rule violations besides the possession of prohibited substances and/or methods including EPO, blood transfusions and related equipment (such as needles, blood bags, storage containers and other transfusion equipment and blood parameters measuring devices), testosterone, corticosteroids, and/or masking agents.

USADA charged the cyclist with violations of the following specific rules applicable to the possession of prohibited substances and/or methods: USOC NADP (and incorporated provisions of Code); USADA Protocol (incorporated provisions of Code or UCI ADR); UCI ADR 52, 54, 93 (1997-2000); UCI ADR 130, 131, 135 (2001-2004); UCI ADR 15.6 (2005-2008); UCI ADR 21.6 (2009-present); and Code Article 2.6 (2003-present). The anti-doping agency also Armstrong with violations of the following specific rules applicable to trafficking and attempted trafficking: USOC NADP (and incorporated provisions of Code); USADA Protocol (incorporated provisions of Code or UCI ADR); UCI ADR 3, 135, 136 (2001-04); UCI ADR 15.7 (2005-2008); UCI ADR 21.7 (2009-present); and Code Article 2.7 (2003-present).

In addition to that, the cyclist was charged with violations of the following specific rules applicable to administration and/or attempted administration: USOC NADP (and incorporated provisions of Code); USADA Protocol (incorporated provisions of Code or UCI ADR); UCI ADR 1, 2, 54, 93 (1997-2000); UCI ADR 3, 133 (2001-2004); UCI ADR 15.8 (2005-2008); UCI ADR 21.8 (2009-present); and Code Article 2.8 (2003-present). USADA went on to charge Armstrong with violations of the following specific rules applicable to aggravating circumstances: USOC NADP (and incorporated provisions of Code); USADA Protocol (incorporated provisions of Code or UCI ADR); UCI ADR 130 (4 years to life for intentional doping) (2001-2004); UCI ADR 305 (2009-present) and Code Article 10.6 (2009-present).

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Monday 13, Dec 2010

  Spanish court evidence ruling frustrates WADA

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Spanish court evidence ruling frustrates WADAThe decision of Spanish judicial authorities to deny access to WADA in context to evidence from the Operacion Puerto probe into an alleged doping ring in cycling has frustrated the anti-doping agency, said President John Fahey.

A Madrid court rejected an appeal by WADA, the International Cycling Union (UCI) and the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) regarding grant of access to evidence on bags of blood linked to leading cyclists.

Eleven people were detained by the Spanish police recently after a series of raids in Valencia, Barcelona, Murcia and Granada as part of a probe into a suspected sports doping ring.