Russia accepts IOC’s plan to retest doping samples

Russia's Sports Minister, Vitaly Mutko

Russia has said it will accept an International Olympic Committee plan to retest all drugs test samples given by Russian athletes at the 2012 and 2014 Olympics.

The IOC’s declaration on Friday followed the second and final part of an independent commission report by the World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Professor Richard McLaren.

It said that more than 1,000 Russian athletes, including medal winners at the Summer Games in London and the Winter Olympics in Sochi, had benefited from a state‑backed campaign of doping and drugs test cover-ups.

Vitaly Mutko, the Russian deputy prime minister who was sports minister at the time of the 2012 and 2014 Olympics, said: “The IOC has now decided to retest all the samples; let them retest.” Mutko also suggested he did not expect Russia to be barred from the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.

The 144-page McLaren report “sharpens the picture and confirms the findings” of his interim report published in July, three weeks before the start of the Rio Olympics. As well as the report, Wada has provided a searchable database of emails, forensic reports, laboratory tests and spreadsheets totalling more than 1,100 items. Even this, McLaren said it is “not the complete picture” as his team was denied access to the Moscow anti‑doping laboratory’s computer server and the hundreds of athletes’ samples still in its freezers.

McLaren said the scheme in operation for London 2012 was based on athletes using a cocktail of steroids mixed with alcohol to limit the detection window, and on the Moscow anti-doping laboratory hiding positive tests by Russian athletes.

“The Russian Olympic team corrupted the London Games on an unprecedented scale, the extent of which will probably never be fully established,” he said. “The desire to win medals superseded their collective moral and ethical compass and Olympic values of fair play.”

Russia won 24 gold, 26 silver and 32 bronze medals in London, while no Russian athlete failed a drugs test at the time of the Games. McLaren, however, has now found evidence that positive samples from 78 athletes, including 15 medallists, simply disappeared.

Ten of those medal-winners have been caught in the IOC’s retesting of London samples this year, but five remain unpunished. It is a similar story for the 2013 World Athletics Championships in Moscow, where four athletes had their positive samples swapped for clean ones.

Meanwhile, the Chinese swimmer Chen Xinyi, has been banned for two years by FINA, the sport’s governing body, for failing a drugs test at the Rio Games. The 18-year-old, who finished fourth in the women’s 100m butterfly, tested positive for banned substance hydrochlorothiazide – an illicit masking agent – and accepted a provisional ban at the time.



Aisha JM