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FSB - Doping Sports

on 09 December 2019 the WADA Executive Committee unanimously approved a recommendation by its Compliance Review Committee to ban Russia from hosting and competing in major international sporting events for four years after it allegedly tampered with laboratory data.

Upon becoming prime minister in August 1999, Putin -- an avid sportsman and accomplished judoka himself -- went about meticulously restoring the country's embattled sports programs. Putin believed a large country like Russia should be successful in sports on an international level and he went to great efforts to build up Russian sports over the years.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Russian athletes have finished first (in Barcelona 1992), second (Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000), third (Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008), and fourth (London 2012) in the Olympics medals table -- a slow but steady decline at the past six Summer Games. A similar but even more dramatic decline took place at the Winter Olympics between 1992 and 2010, punctuated by an 11th place finish in the medal standings in 2010 in Vancouver, where for the first time in history a Russian didn't win a single medal in figure skating.

The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi were meant to show the world that Russia was a preeminent country. Russia gained victory over the archrival Americans for the most overall medals, and bettered Norway for the most golds at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. It was a pinnacle of success for Russian athletes not seen since the Soviet sports juggernaut dominated the Winter Olympics from 1956 until 1988, the last games before the USSR crumbled into 15 separate countries. On the surface, Putin's government appeared successful. The Olympics served as a way of promoting the government's strength. But ABC News reported allegations that Russian mobsters had delivered “bags of cash” to IOC members to secure the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Russia is reported to have spent some $50 billion on the Sochi Olympics.

Reports of widespread doping by Russian athletes suggests their pinnacle of success -- the 2014 Winter Olympics -- was built on fraud. As many as 15 medals are alleged to have been won with the help of doping. The ensuing maelstrom around the Russian Olympic team included a damning series of investigative reports and documentaries by international anti-doping organizations, investigative journalists, whistle-blowers, and former Russian anti-doping employees.

Team Russia will be removed from the Games should WADA prove the systematic use of doping drugs in Russia, according to Thomas Bach, the head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). "Should the investigation prove the allegations true, it would represent a shocking new dimension in doping with an, until now, unimaginable level of criminality," Thomas Bach wrote 18 May 2016.

The FSB was directly implicated in the sports doping scandal. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) reported 15 June 2016 that "Military cities often used as location of whereabouts. Athletes know that special permission is needed to gain access. Reports that athletes provide this location even if they aren’t there, to deter test planning. ... Security staff creating significant delays for DCOs [ Doping Control Officers ] in entering venues and consistently monitored once inside... "

According to WADA, drug testers were reportedly intimidated when accessing military cities by armed agents threatening them with expulsion from the country. Once allowed to enter, security staff created significant delays for testers entering venues and were closely monitored once inside, the report said. The report also says that DCOs had been intimidated when accessing military cities, with armed federal security agents threatening them with expulsion from the country;

United States Anti-Doping Agency chief executive Travis Tygart said "Obviously, you can't clean up a culture of corruption in a matter of months - it's just not possible - and that's why we've stood firmly with a broad, global coalition of those who care about clean sport in saying that the Russian track and field federation can't be allowed to compete at the Games."

The FSB employed "magicians" who were to "surreptitiously open" tamper-proof lids of urine test bottles. FSB agents were inserted into the test labs and the FSB participated in a urine-swapping arrangement at the Sochi Olympics, sneaking samples through a "mouse hole" secretly cut in a laboratory wall.

World Anti-Doping Agency lead investigator, Richard McLaren, reported 18 July 2016 : "The FSB role is not interference and control, like that of the Deputy Minister of Sport, but assistance in arranging and operating the State sponsored system of sample swapping that occurred in connection with: the 2013 University Games and IAAF Championships, the Sochi laboratory and in the lead up to the WADA seizure of samples in December 2014. ... the FSB's involvement in the Sochi Games includ[ed] the FSB's role in removing bottle caps and providing clean urine for sample swapping during the Sochi Games. In addition, the FSB had an operations room and a sleeping room on the 4th floor of the Sochi Laboratory... Thierry Boghossian, a WADA Science Department employee and member of the Independent Observer Team, was put under FSB surveillance to make sure that if he visited the Laboratory in the middle of the night individuals involved in swapping samples would be forewarned. "

The International Olympic Committee, known as the IOC, will not ban all Russian athletes from the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games. Out of 387 athletes named to the Russian team, at least 117 had been banned by the international federations of their sports. A depleted team of about 250 Russians who thought they had been cleared by their federations traveled to Rio de Janeiro.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) was heavily criticized online over its handling of the Russian doping scandal. Commentators described it as “useless” and “shameful”. If you can't be banned for state sponsored program of cheating and blatant disregard for sport, what can you be banned for?

Russian athlete Yuliya Stepanova provided evidence that helped break WADA’s case against Russia. Stepanova was frustrated yet not surprised when the International Olympic Committee decided not to allow her to compete in the upcoming Rio Games. The IOC barred Stepanova from competing in Rio as a neutral athlete, saying her history of admitting to her involvement in the Russian system would not allow her to compete as a neutral athlete.

As officials lashed out against the West on state television for its prejudices and attacks on the country, many Russians expressed similar opinions. In a survey published in July 2016 by state pollster VTsIOM, 55% said the accusations of mass doping were groundless and the result of a “political hit job” by Olympic competitors. Another 31% said doping existed in other countries and punishing only Russia was an “injustice”. An overwhelming 89% supported the actions of Putin. A survey by the independent Levada Centre showed 71% thought the agency’s evidence of systematic doping by Russia was not convincing; 83% disapproved of talks about banning Russia from the Olympics.

On August 05, 2016 the International Olympic Committee approved 271 Russian athletes to compete in the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, about 70 percent of the country's original team. The IOC announced its decision, less than 24 hours before the Olympic flame is lit, signifying the games are officially open. But 118 Russians were still barred from competition, meaning the Russians will field their smallest Olympic team since 1912.

The entire Russian team was banned August 07, 2016 from the Paralympic Games in September, punishment for the country's systematic doping program that extended beyond the partial ban imposed on Russian athletes who wanted to compete in the current summer Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro. The International Paralympic Committee strongly condemned Moscow's doping program, including at the 2014 Paralympics in Sochi, Russia, and issued a blanket ban on Russian athletes hoping to enter the September 7-18 competition, also in Rio.

"Tragically this situation is not about athletes cheating a system, but about a state-run system that is cheating the athletes," said IPC President Philip Craven. "The doping culture that is polluting Russian sport stems from the Russian government and has now been uncovered in not one, but two independent reports commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency." He added, "Their medals over morals mentality disgusts me. The complete corruption of the anti-doping system is contrary to the rules and strikes at the very heart of the spirit of the Paralympic sport."

A new report into systematic Russian doping released 10 December 2016 found that more than 1,000 Russian athletes competing in summer, winter and paralympic Olympic Games were involved in or benefited from an organized conspiracy to conceal positive doping tests. The sheer extent of the scandal becomes evident when you try to take in this number. More than 1,000 Russian top athletes, or more than a generation of the country's sporting elite, were part of a state-sponsored doping program, at least according to the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) investigation. And it could be even more.

Between 2011 and 2015 Russia doped, or rather covered up its doping. And this cover-up was orchestrated by Russia's sports ministry, the RUSADA national anti-doping agency, its testing labs in Moscow, and by the domestic spy agency, the FSB. A doping plot with the willing assistance of a government.

This is demonstrated by emails and more than 4,000 documents that the Canadian lead investigator Richard McLaren and his team pored over. In the 151-page second part of the McLaren report, published by WADA, one thing becomes clear: the darkest days of Cold War-era doping were a joke when compared to Russia's modern state-run program.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) announced 20 September 2018 it would lift its ban on Russia’s anti-doping agency (RUSADA). “Today, the great majority of WADA’s ExCo decided to reinstate RUSADA as compliant with the Code subject to strict conditions, upon recommendation by the Agency’s independent CRC and in accordance with an agreed process,” WADA President Craig Reedie stated.

The World Anti-Doping Agency says nine out of 12 members of its executive committee voted to reinstate Russian anti-doping watchdog RUSADA, on the condition that Russia provides WADA with access to its Moscow lab's test samples.

The athletes commission of the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) released an open letter condemning RUSADA’s possible readmittance. “Our request is simple: follow the rules that you’ve created the same way we are expected to,” the commision wrote. “You owe it to all clean athletes to be the guardians of clean sport.”

US Anti-Doping Agency chief Travis Tygart, who once called on FIFA to test the Russian football team for doping after they won several games at the World Cup, and demanded that the entire Russian Olympic team be banned from the 2016 Olympic Games, voiced his disappointment with the world anti-doping authority over its decision on Russia. "WADA was in a stare-down with Russia and WADA blinked," Tygart complained, speaking to the Evening Standard. "WADA can't just be a service provider for the [International Olympic Committee]. It needs to change its executive and be totally independent from sport. At the moment, the whole process just stinks," he added.

"The message in all this seems to be you can run one of the most sophisticated doping programs, you can influence power and create your own set of rules with no real consequences, to basically cheat your way to the top," he said.

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Page last modified: 13-01-2020 18:58:28 ZULU