New Report Suggests Widespread Russian Doping at Sochi Olympics

Christine Rousselle
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Posted: May 13, 2016 1:25 PM
New Report Suggests Widespread Russian Doping at Sochi Olympics

A bombshell report suggests that Russian athletes engaged in widespread cheating during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The report alleges that "dozens" of Russian athletes, including 15 who won medals, were part of state-sponsored doping program that switched out urine samples from drugged athletes for clean samples in the middle of the night. Nobody was caught.

From the New York Times:

The director, Grigory Rodchenkov, who ran the laboratory that handled testing for thousands of Olympians, said he developed a three-drug cocktail of banned substances that he mixed with liquor and provided to dozens of Russian athletes, helping to facilitate one of the most elaborate — and successful — doping ploys in sports history.

It involved some of Russia’s biggest stars of the Games, including 14 members of its cross-country ski team and two veteran bobsledders who won two golds.

In a dark-of-night operation, Russian antidoping experts and members of the intelligence service surreptitiously replaced urine samples tainted by performance-enhancing drugs with clean urine collected months earlier, somehow breaking into the supposedly tamper-proof bottles that are the standard at international competitions, Dr. Rodchenkov said. For hours each night, they worked in a shadow laboratory lit by a single lamp, passing bottles of urine through a hand-size hole in the wall, to be ready for testing the next day, he said.

By the end of the Games, Dr. Rodchenkov estimated, as many as 100 dirty urine samples were expunged.

Russia won the most medals at the games, with 33 total--including 13 gold. The next-highest country, Norway, won 26 medals. The United States placed fourth, with 28. If the report is true, this means that nearly half of Russia's medal haul was won by athletes who cheated.

Back in November 2015, a massive doping scandal involving members of Russia's track and field teams was uncovered. Russia's U18 hockey team had to be replaced entirely ahead of last month's U18 World Championships due to doping.

Clearly, these cheating issues are widespread throughout the country and are not exclusive to one sport.

The 2016 Summer Olympics, hosted in Rio de Janeiro, begin on August 5.