The Russian government has news for those paying attention to the country’s doping problem: they didn’t do it.
Over a year ago, in December of 2014, allegations of state-sponsored doping in Russian athletics began to fly when these claims were aired on an investigative documentary. Soon thereafter, WADA announced that Canadian Dick Pound would be leading an independent investigation into the claims.
After a year-long investigation into the allegations, Pound, former head of the World Anti Doping Agency, released his findings in a 325-page report. He stated that a) all allegations against Russian athletes, coaches and officials were found to be true and b) the situation was so dire that Russia should be banned from the Olympics.
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Top coaches, an athletics chief and an anti-doping doctor have all received life bans as have well-known track superstars including Mariya Savinova. As of right now, it’s not looking like Russian athletes are going to be at the Olympics. The chief of Russian anti-doping stepped down from his post two months ago. (Nikita Kamayev was reported dead on Sunday at the age of 52. He is said to have suffered from a massive heart attack.)
For the third time since banning Russia, the IAAF is marching into the country in an attempt to clean up Russian track. This week, Russia has something to offer them: a report, done by themselves, stating that the doping offenses were not state-sponsored and that they actually aren’t guilty.
The report was put together by the Prosecutor General’s office after the head of civic chambers public security committee, Dmitry Chugunov called for an investigation into the investigation.
How long have Russian athletes been cheating their way to the top? We don’t exactly know but likely, it’s been since the Cold War era. As the first ever president of WADA, a member of the International Olympic Committee since 1978, and a lawyer who has spent much of his career fighting against doping in sport, Pound’s reputation is slightly less dodgy than that of a nation who has just been kicked out of international competition for a serious failure in ethics.
But, they say, there’s a hole in this year-long investigation backed by hundreds of pages of reporting. Could Pound have done a shoddy job here? Maybe. And the Russians have found him out.
The report is to be presented to the IAAF this week. This might just be their ticket back into the Olympics.
We’re waiting to see how it goes over.