Former lab director offers help on tests of tampered samples

AP News
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Posted: May 12, 2016 10:22 PM

MONTREAL (AP) — The former Moscow lab director who revealed Russia's plans to tamper with urine samples to guarantee clean drug tests at the Sochi Olympics is calling on Olympic officials to test the stored samples with his assistance.

Grigory Rodchenkov and the filmmaker he's working with on a documentary sent a letter, obtained by The Associated Press on Thursday, to the presidents of the International Olympic Committee and the World Anti-Doping Agency, urging them to test the samples while the moviemaker films the action.

The Russian scheme, as Rodchenkov told The New York Times, involved taking clean urine from athletes before the Olympics and using soda containers and baby bottles to transport that urine and swap it with dirty samples. It allowed "Russian athletes who most likely were doping to go undetected in arguably the largest sporting fraud of all time," the letter said.

Rodchenkov said that, as the mastermind of the plot, he's the only person who can identify which samples were tampered with, and thus must oversee the testing. He suggests everything be filmed to "ensure the integrity of the examination in an open and transparent way to the public."

The letter states that the Russian plot undercuts the entire anti-doping system.

It says the documentary has quotes from several anti-doping experts, including WADA officials, who all agree "that if urine swapping and tampering of this nature ever occurred, the entire testing system would need to be scrapped."

In an interview before the letter went public Thursday, WADA's incoming director general Olivier Niggli said the bottles needed to be looked at.

"The allegation is that this was done by the (intelligence) service of Russia," he said. "I guess the (intelligence) service of any country is able to do about anything. So, if you ask me if the Russians ... can open a bottle, the answer is probably 'yes.' But we're talking about something that is so far away from normal anti-doping."