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Russian doping at Sochi Winter Olympics exposed by CBS '60 Minutes'

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  • Russian doping at Sochi Winter Olympics exposed by CBS '60 Minutes'

    Russian doping at Sochi Winter Olympics exposed
    Four Russian gold medal winners in the Sochi Winter Olympics were using steroids Russian whistleblower tells 60 Minutes
    A Russian whistleblower has information that at least four of Russia's gold medal winners at the Sochi Winter Olympics were on steroids. Vitaly Stepanov reveals this in an interview with Armen Keteyian to be broadcast on 60 Minutes Sunday, May 8 at 7 p.m. ET/PT. An excerpt of Keteyian's report will appear on the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley at 6:30 p.m. ET/PT.

    Stepanov is a former official with the Russian Anti-Doping Agency who, along with his wife Yuliya, a former star on the Russian track team, exposed the state-sponsored doping that got the team suspended from international competition last November. They speak to Keteyian in their first U.S. interviews.

    Vitaly and Yuliya have taken refuge here in the U.S. in fear of retaliation. Another exile in the U.S. for the same reason is Grigory Rodchenkov, who ran Russia's drug testing lab. No one knows more about doping in Russia than Rodchenkov, who says he could make positive test results disappear. Vitaly began Skyping with him and recorded the conversations.

    Rodchenkov told Stepanov that Russian Intelligence Officers, or FSB agents, helped Russia cheat at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. "FSB tried to control every single step of the anti-doping process in Sochi," says Vitaly. He says Rodchenkov told him he has the "Sochi List" of Russians who competed there on steroids, four of whom he said were gold medal winners.

    "It's a stunning revelation," says Travis Tygart, head of the United States Anti Doping Agency, USADA. "And if true, it's a devastating blow to the Olympic values."

    Vitaly and Yuliya tell Keteyian how they gathered the evidence against Yuliya's teammates on the Russian Track and Field Team. Yuliya, who once doped too, now hopes her actions will lead to her competing in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro this summer as an athlete without a country. The International Association of Athletics Federations, which is the governing body of track and field, will make a decision on her petition next month.

    The governing body for track and field may also weigh Rodchenkov's revelation in its decision on whether the Russian Track and Field Team can compete in Rio.

    Tygart at USADA has already made his mind up about the Russians at Rio. "We're not [in favor of participation]," he tells Keteyian. "They can't come at the expense of clean athletes' rights."
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  • #2
    Russian Doctor Explains How He Helped Beat Doping Tests at the Sochi Olympics
    The director of Russia’s antidoping laboratory during the 2014 Winter Olympics revealed to The New York Times how Russian agents used an elaborate scheme to swap out tainted urine samples from Russian athletes.

    Grigory Rodchenkov, the antidoping laboratory director, said that each night a sports official sent him a list of athletes whose samples needed to be swapped.

    Athletes also sent photos of their doping control forms to help identify which urine sample were theirs.

    Upon receiving a signal, usually after midnight, Dr. Rodchenkov went to Room 124. The room was officially a storage space, but he and his team had converted it into a laboratory.

    Room 124 was next to the official sample collection room where the bottles of urine were kept.

    Urine sample bottles were passed through a hole between the two rooms.

    A colleague in the collection room passed the urine samples through a hole in the wall near the floor. The openings were covered with white plastic caps. The opening on the collection room side was also concealed by a small faux-wood cabinet during the day.

    View of the hole from the “storage space” where Dr. Rodchenkov and his colleagues worked.

    The urine sample bottles, manufactured by Berlinger, a Swiss company, were designed so that they could not be opened without breaking the cap once the bottle had been sealed. When it is time to test the urine sample, the cap is removed by breaking it into two parts with tools or machines sold by Berlinger.

    In Room 124, Dr. Rodchenkov received the sealed bottles through the hole and handed them to a man who he believed was a Russian intelligence officer. The man took the bottles to a building nearby. Within a few hours, the bottles were returned with the caps loose and unbroken.

    Each cap is imprinted with a unique number to match the bottle, so no other cap can be substituted. The bottle is five inches tall and two inches wide.

    Dr. Rodchenkov’s team emptied and cleaned the bottles with filter paper and filled them with untainted urine collected from the athletes months before the Olympics.

    They would then add table salt or water to balance out any inconsistencies in the recorded specifications of the two samples. Depending on what an athlete had consumed, two urine samples taken at different times could vary.

    A third of Russia’s 33 medals were awarded to athletes whose names appeared on a spreadsheet outlining the government’s doping plan.
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    • #3
      Russia’s Track and Field Team Barred From Rio Olympics
      Russia’s track and field team has been barred from competing in this summer’s Rio Games because of a far-reaching doping conspiracy, an extraordinary punishment that might be without precedent in Olympics history.

      The global governing body for track and field, known as the I.A.A.F., made the decision on Friday, ruling that Russia had not done enough to restore global confidence in the integrity of its athletes, according to a person with direct knowledge of the vote.

      The International Olympic Committee, the ultimate authority over the Games, is due to discuss the decision on Tuesday. If Olympics officials were to amend the ruling against Russia, it would be an unusual move, as they have historically deferred to the governing bodies for specific sports.

      Russian track and field athletes have been suspended from international competition for the last seven months, after the publication of a report by the World Anti-Doping Agency that accused the nation of an elaborate government-run doping program. Though Russia denied those accusations, the country’s track and field authorities did not contest the suspension when given an opportunity in November.

      Since then, however, Russian officials have striven to persuade global decision-makers that they can be trusted in Olympic competition, volunteering to go beyond standard eligibility requirements and to send only athletes who have not been disciplined for drug use.

      To allow athletes without a history of drug violations to compete – as the I.O.C. may discuss on Tuesday – could prove controversial. The sophistication of Russia’s operation, whistle-blowers have alleged, has made athletes on steroids appear to be clean, be it through surreptitiously swapping out incriminating urine samples or imbibing drugs with liquor to minimize the period during which they can be detected.

      On Friday, hours before the vote, Russia’s sports minister, Vitaly Mutko, made a final appeal, releasing an open letter to the I.A.A.F. that had been sent privately on Wednesday. “Russia fully supports fighting doping,” Mr. Mutko wrote, invoking stricter penalties and independent drug-testing of Russian athletes that had been conducted by authorities from the United Kingdom in recent months.

      Those overtures were not enough.

      In general, nations have been barred because of geopolitical considerations, not doping. After both world wars, the losing nations were kept out of the next Games. South Africa was barred from 1964 to 1988 because of its policies of apartheid. Yugoslavia was prevented from entering team events in 1992 because of United Nations penalties over the war in the Balkans.

      Days before Friday’s vote, the World Anti-Doping Agency released information calling into question the credibility of Russia’s reforms. The agency said the testing authorities from the United Kingdom, in collecting urine samples, had been threatened by members of Russia’s Federal Security Service and that many athletes — a significant number of them track and field competitors — had evaded authorities to escape being tested.

      Many athletes outside Russia had agitated for the vote to happen as it did. In recent weeks, Olympians have called on sports officials to conduct further investigations into the extent of the cheating of which Russia has been accused, extending across the spectrum of sports.

      “Athletes have been losing sleep,” said Lauryn Williams, a track and field and bobsled athlete from the United States. “You can’t have faith in anybody who is Russian.”

      Whistle-blowers have provided further details on the clandestine doping scheme the report described. Fearing for their safety, at least three of them have fled to the United States.

      In Los Angeles, Russia’s former antidoping lab director Grigory Rodchenkov told The New York Times that he had worked for years at the direction of the Russian government to ensure the country’s dominance in international competition.

      He said he provided a three-drug cocktail of banned substances and liquor to sports officials, who in turn provided those drugs to the country’s top athletes. According to Dr. Rodchenkov, Russian athletes took that cocktail of anabolic steroids to prepare for the last Summer Olympics, in London in 2012. They stopped taking the drugs one or two weeks before they were due to be tested, he said, to avoid being caught.

      “If you’re fighting doping, Russia should be withdrawn from the Olympics,” Dr. Rodchenkov said in Los Angeles last month. “Doping is everywhere. Many people in Russia don’t want to tell the truth. Lies and fear are absolute.”

      Russian authorities have vehemently disputed Dr. Rodchenkov’s account, calling it the “slander of a turncoat.”

      It is unclear whether the I.O.C. can or will overturn the I.A.A.F.’s blanket ban when it meets on Tuesday. The I.O.C.’s president, Thomas Bach, has emphasized in recent weeks “the difficult decision between collective responsibility and individual justice,” suggesting the possibility that the I.O.C. can allow Russian athletes with clean histories to make it to Rio.

      Still, Mr. Bach has also emphasized a “zero-tolerance” policy and said that if other Russian sports organizations are proved to be ridden with state-sponsored cheating, they, too, could be kept from the Olympics.

      “Time is of the essence,” Ms. Williams said.

      Katie Uhlaender, a skeleton racer from the United States, said it was difficult to react to Friday’s decision knowing the I.O.C. could amend it next week.

      “If there are Russian athletes that can prove beyond reasonable doubt that they’re clean, let them compete,” she said. “But I literally started crying at the details of the Sochi scandal,” she said, referring to Dr. Rodchenkov’s account of having substituted out Russian athletes’ dirty urine.

      Ms. Uhlaender placed fourth at Sochi, losing by four-hundredths of a second to a Russian athlete.

      “I’m fearful they’re not going to do anything about Sochi,” she said. “You put decades of your life into something with faith that people are playing by the same rules. I can’t imagine being a summer athlete right now.”

      She wondered about the implications for winter sports, suggesting that because the current ban was sport specific, track and field athletes who also competed in winter events like bobsled or skeleton might focus on the chance to compete at the 2018 Winter Games.

      “What does it even mean to ban Russia?” Ms. Uhlaender said. “Is sending them to their room or putting them in a timeout going to solve the problem?”
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      • #4
        Report confirms allegations of widespread Russian doping in several sports
        An investigation commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency has confirmed allegations of widespread doping in Russia, including swapping of samples provided by doped athletes during the Sochi Olympics.

        At a news conference on Monday, Richard McLaren, who was commissioned by WADA to lead the investigation, revealed a report that detailed a system in which the Moscow lab protected doped Russian athletes, the Sochi lab swapped samples from doped Russian athletes to allow them to compete in the Games and that the Ministry of Sport “directed, controlled and oversaw the manipulation of athlete’s analytical results or sample swapping” with the assistance of both labs and Russian security services.

        McLaren said the findings in the report were established beyond a reasonable doubt and could be cross corroborated.

        “I am unwaveringly confident in our report,” McLaren said.

        McLaren said the system was in place after the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver and at least through August 2015.

        FULL INVESTIGATION: Read the full McLaren report (.pdf)

        When asked about which sports were involved in the doping coverup, McLaren referred to a table in his report. The table shows 28 Olympic sports, both summer and winter, impacted by the system by which the sports ministry worked with the Moscow lab to cover up positive test results. Athletics and weightlifting are the top two, followed by non-Olympic sports and Paralympic sports. The next three on the list are summer events.

        Asked about specific sports included in the Russian system, McLaren said it "covers the vast majority of the sports."

        He also said cheating occurred at the 2013 track world championships in Moscow and the 2015 swimming world championships in Kazan.

        Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, the former director of the Moscow lab, first made his allegations to the New York Times in mid-May, telling the newspaper that he had come up with a doping system for several Russian athletes competing in the Sochi Games. At the direction of the Russian sports ministry, Rodchenkov claimed, he was directed to swap out clean urine collected from those athletes months before the Games (and before they started doping) for urine that was collected after competition.

        Rodchenkov said that he was assisted by a man he believed worked for the Russian security service who had broken into bottles previously thought to be tamper-proof.

        WADA responded to the allegations by launching a second investigation into Russian doping to be headed by McLaren, a Canadian professor who was part of the independent commission that conducted the investigation into doping in Russian athletics in 2015.

        That investigation concluded in November that state-sponsored doping existed in track and field. It and documentaries from German broadcaster ARD relied on evidence from whistleblower Yuliya Stepanova, an 800-meter runner, and Vitaly Stepanov, her husband and a former Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) employee.

        The second part of that WADA independent commission report, released in January, revealed corruption at the highest levels of the International Association of Athletics Federations that included accepting bribes to cover up positive drug tests from Russian athletes.

        In the wake of the investigation and sanctions, Russian sports officials and athletes have sought to discredit the whistleblowers. Stepanova, who has left Russia and lives with her family at an undisclosed location in the United States, has been called “Judas” by President Vladimir Putin and fellow athletes. Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutkotold the New York Times this month that Rodchenkov “created traps” for athletes.

        Yet signs that the ministry was involved in covering up positive doping tests and that Russia has been slow to change its culture of doping have been evident for more than a month.

        In announcing its decision in June to extend a ban of Russia’s track and field team, one which would keep it out of the Rio Olympics, the IAAF made clear a culture of tolerance to doping remains in the country.

        A taskforce charged with evaluating whether Russia met the verification criteria for reinstatement that was put in place when the first WADA report was released in November determined that while progress had been made, it was not enough to allow Russia to compete internationally.

        Among its findings was that Russia’s Olympic Committee and sports ministry “have adopted at best a highly ambivalent attitude” toward Stepanova in spite of a requirement to create an environment that encourages whistleblowing.

        The task force noted a preliminary finding from McLaren’s investigation that there is sufficient evidence of “a mandatory state-directed manipulation of laboratory analytical results” in the Moscow lab from at least 2011 forward in which the sports ministry advised the lab which findings to report to WADA and which to cover up.

        A WADA report released earlier in June detailed attempts at obstruction, obfuscation and avoidance of drug testing in the country as recently as May.

        Russia and several individual athletes have challenged the ban in the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which is set to rule on Thursday.

        In banning Russia, the IAAF made a change to its rules that would allow individual athletes to apply for exceptional eligibility to compete provided they could show they had been subject to effective anti-doping systems in other countries and that they had not been tainted by the Russian system.

        Stepanova was the first granted such an exception by the IAAF, and she competed in the European Championships earlier this month.

        Long jumper Darya Klishina, who trains in Florida, also received exceptional eligibility. The IAAF previously said it expects only a few athletes to fit the criteria for such an exception. It had received 136 applications from Russian athletes when it announced Klishina’s exemption earlier this month.

        To be decided is if those athletes can compete in Rio and whether they would do so as neutral athletes, which the IAAF codified in its rule change, or under the Russian flag, which International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach has said would be the case.

        The Rio Olympics open Aug. 5.
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        • #5
          There is only one athlete to represent that of Russia. And felt that the athlete forget the name, needs to go to Ukraine they say. To avoid controversy.
          [COLOR="Purple"]July is Here!


          • #6
            Rio Olympics 2016: Russia fails to overturn athlete ban for next month's Games
            Russian track and field athletes will remain banned from the Olympics following claims the country ran a state-sponsored doping programme.

            The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and 68 Russian athletes attempted to overturn the suspension, implemented by the body that governs world athletics.

            But the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) has ruled it can stand.

            A handful of Russian athletes could still compete as neutrals at the Rio Games, which start on 5 August.

            "It's sad but rules are rules," said Olympic 100m and 200m champion Usain Bolt, who is targeting more gold medals in Rio.

            He said it was important to send a strong message to the dopers.

            "Doping violations in track and field is getting really bad," said the Jamaican, 29. "If you cheat or go or against the rules, this will scare a lot of people."

            However, Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva - one of the 68 to appeal to Cas - said the ruling was "a blatant political order", while the Russian Foreign Ministry called it a a "crime against sport".

            Isinbayeva, the 2012 gold medallist, 34, told the Tass news agency: "Thank you all for this funeral for athletics."

            The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) said it was "pleased Cas has supported its position", adding that the judgement had "created a level playing field for athletes".

            IAAF president Lord Coe added: "This is not a day for triumphant statements. I didn't come into this sport to stop athletes from competing.

            "Beyond Rio, the IAAF taskforce will continue to work with Russia to establish a clean safe environment for its athletes so that its federation and team can return to international recognition and competition."

            Separately, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is considering calls to ban all Russian competitors from the Rio Games following a second report into state-sponsored doping.

            What now for Russia's athletes?
            Some Russian athletes could compete in Rio as neutrals if they meet a number of criteria, including being repeatedly tested outside their homeland.

            At least two - 800m runner and doping whistleblower Yuliya Stepanova and US-based long jumper Darya Klishina - have gone down that path.

            Now the ruling by a three-person Cas panel has cleared the way for others.

            Cas said the ROC could still nominate athletes to compete as neutrals. However, a Cas spokesman said the panel had expressed concerns that this left "no possibility" for athletes to comply with the criteria.

            Who was on the Cas panel?
            Three lawyers from Italy, Britain and the United States, widely regarded as amongst the most experienced judges on the court's list of around 400 approved arbitrators.

            The chairman was Milan-based Luigi Fumagalli, who also sat on the panel which upheld Fifa's four-month ban on Uruguay's Luis Suarez for biting Italian defender Georgio Chiellini opponent at the 2014 World Cup.

            Retired judge Robert Reid, from England, has chaired disciplinary committees for the Premier League and sat in judgment of Pakistan cricketer Salman Butt's failed appeal to Cas against a ban for fixing.

            Finally, Jeffrey Benz from Los Angeles is a former legal adviser to the United States Olympic Committee.

            Why were Russian athletes banned?
            Russia was suspended from track and field events by the IAAF in November 2015 following the publication of an independent World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) report that showed a culture of widespread, state-sponsored doping.

            Sports minister Vitaly Mutko apologised for Russia's failure to catch the cheats but stopped short of admitting the scandal had been state-sponsored.

            However, another Wada-commissioned report delivered earlier this week - the McLaren report - contained more damaging allegations and suggested senior figures in Russia's sports ministry were complicit in an organised cover-up.

            The report implicated the majority of Olympic sports in the cover-up and claimed that Russian secret service agents were involved in swapping positive urine samples for clean ones.

            Following Monday's publication of the McLaren report, the IOC faced calls to ban all Russian competitors from the 2016 Olympics and will hold an second emergency meeting on Sunday to decide its course of action.

            How has Russia responded?
            The Russian authorities have already suggested that they will look at ways to continue legal action.

            Following the ruling, sports minister Mutko said Cas had set "a certain precedent" by punishing a collective group for doping offences by individuals.

            Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov added: "The principle of collective responsibility cannot be acceptable. The news is not very good."

            What about other reaction?
            Sir Matthew Pinsent, Britain's four-time Olympic rowing champion:

            "I hope the IOC will take courage from the fact there will not be a legal comeback to these decisions. Any other option will be a nonsense."

            Louise Hazel, a former Olympic heptathlete from Britain:

            "It's a sad business but it's also a step in the right direction. I commend everybody involved for taking a hard line. I'm really pleased to see they have taken a really strong stance and that the ban has been upheld."

            Vera Rebrik, a javelin thrower from Ukraine who switched allegiance to Russia following the annexation of Crimea in 2014:

            "I don't know whether to laugh or cry... I can't find the words."
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            • #7
              Richard Conway @richard_conway
              Russian state TV, quoting a source, claims IOC will leave decision on whether or not to ban Russian athletes up to individual sports feds.

              David Barron @dfbarron
              IOC punts to the International Federations, which is what was expected by many.

              Amazing lack of integrity by IOC. Check their bank accounts.
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              • #8

                The decision was greeted with dismay by the United States Anti-Doping Agency, who accused the IOC of refusing to take decisive leadership...

                The organisation’s CEO, Travis Tygart, said: “Many, including clean athletes and whistleblowers, have demonstrated courage and strength in confronting a culture of state-supported doping and corruption within Russia. Disappointingly, however, in response to the most important moment for clean athletes and the integrity of the Olympic Games, the IOC has refused to take decisive leadership. The decision regarding Russian participation and the confusing mess left in its wake is a significant blow to the rights of clean athletes.

                “The IOC has stated before that they believe anti-doping should be wholly independent and that is in part why it is so frustrating that, in this incredibly important moment, they would pass the baton to sports federations who may lack the adequate expertise or collective will to appropriately address the situation within the short window prior to the Games. The conflict of interest is glaring.

                “In regard to Yuliya Stepanova, the decision to refuse her entry into the Games is incomprehensible and will undoubtedly deter whistleblowers in the future from coming forward.”
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                • #9
                  WADA report shows over 1,000 Russians involved in organized doping

                  LONDON -- A new report into systematic Russian doping details a wide-ranging "institutional conspiracy" that involved more than 1,000 athletes across more than 30 sports, including evidence corroborating large-scale sample swapping at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

                  World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren said Friday the conspiracy involved the Russian Sports Ministry, national anti-doping agency and the FSB intelligence service, providing further details of state involvement in a massive program of cheating and cover-ups that ran on an "unprecedented scale" from 2011-15.

                  "It is impossible to know just how deep and how far back this conspiracy goes," McLaren said at a news conference in London. "For years, international sports competitions have unknowingly been hijacked by Russians. Coaches and athletes have been playing on an uneven field. Sports fans and spectators have been deceived. It's time that this stops."

                  More than 1,000 Russian athletes in 30 Olympic and Paralympic sports benefited from a
                  state-sponsored doping cover-up between 2011 and 2015, an investigation funded by the World Anti-Doping
                  Agency has found. AP Photo/Lee Jin-man

                  McLaren said his conclusions were based on irrefutable forensic evidence, including DNA analysis proving that samples were swapped and other tests showing that doping bottles were opened.

                  The Canadian law professor's investigation found that 15 Russian medalists in Sochi had their doping bottles tampered with, including two athletes who won four gold medals. No names were given.

                  McLaren also reported that Russia corrupted the 2012 London Olympics on an "unprecedented scale" but the full extent will "probably never be fully established."

                  No Russian athlete tested positive at the time of the games, but McLaren said the sports ministry gave athletes a "cocktail of steroids ... in order to beat the detection thresholds at the London lab."

                  McLaren described the Russian doping program as "a cover-up that evolved over the years from uncontrolled chaos to an institutionalized and disciplined medal-winning strategy and conspiracy."

                  The findings confirmed and expanded on much of the evidence contained in McLaren's first report issued in July.

                  "Over 1,000 Russian athletes competing in summer, winter and Paralympic sport can be identified as being involved in or benefiting from manipulations to conceal positive doping tests," McLaren said Friday.

                  The names of those athletes, including 600 summer sports competitors, have been turned over to international federations for them to take any disciplinary action, he said.

                  McLaren's first report led WADA to recommend that Russia be excluded from the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. The IOC rejected calls for an outright ban, allowing international federations to decide which Russian athletes could compete.

                  The latest report will put pressure on the International Olympic Committee to take action ahead of the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. His findings will be sent to the IOC, which has two commissions looking into the allegations.

                  IOC president Thomas Bach has said stiff sanctions will be taken against any athletes and officials implicated in doping. He said he favors lifetime Olympic bans for anyone involved.

                  McLaren opened his investigation earlier this year after Moscow's former doping lab director, Grigory Rodchenkov, told the New York Times that he and other officials were involved in an organized doping program for Russian athletes that covered the London and Sochi Olympics. He detailed how tainted samples were replaced with clean urine through a concealed "mouse hole" in the wall of the Sochi lab.

                  The new report further backs Rodchenkov's account. McLaren's investigation found scratches and other marks left on the doping bottles. WADA investigators were able to recreate the method used by the Russians to pry open the sealed bottle caps.

                  The report also elaborated on the "Disappearing Positive Methodology" system which concealed Russian use of banned drugs and protected summer and winter athletes from being caught. Some samples were diluted with salt or even coffee granules.

                  Other findings include:

                  • Six Russian athletes who won a total of 21 medals at the Sochi Paralympics had their urine samples tampered with.

                  • Two female hockey players at the Sochi Olympics had samples that contained male DNA.

                  • Eight Sochi samples had salt content that was physiologically impossible in a healthy human.

                  McLaren specified that the doping conspiracy involved "Russian officials within the Ministry of Sport and its infrastructure," as well as the anti-doping body, the Moscow lab, and the FSB specifically for manipulating the samples. The inquiry found no evidence that former Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko was directly involved, he said.

                  The report also found no evidence of involvement of the Russian Olympic Committee.

                  McLaren said he was unfazed by Russian criticism of the report.

                  Asked how he would respond, McLaren said: "I would say read the report."

                  McLaren's first report set off bitter divisions and infighting in the Olympic movement and those recriminations have dragged on since the Rio Games. McLaren said it is now time to take a unified approach.

                  "I find it difficult to understand why we're not on the same team," he said. "We should all be working together to end doping in sports."
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                  • #10
                    i figured there would be a follow up today. People want a level playing field.....let everyone take whatever they want.
                    Want to learn everything about the Texans cap? There is no better site out there than this one. Thanks Troy. Amazing work buddy!


                    • #11
                      Russians No Longer Dispute Olympic Doping Operation

                      MOSCOW — Russia is for the first time conceding that its officials carried out one of the biggest conspiracies in sports history: a far-reaching doping operation that implicated scores of Russian athletes, tainting not just the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi but also the entire Olympic movement.

                      Over several days of interviews here with The New York Times, Russian officials said they no longer disputed a damning set of facts that detailed a doping program with few, if any, historical precedents.

                      “It was an institutional conspiracy,” Anna Antseliovich, the acting director general of Russia’s national antidoping agency, said of years’ worth of cheating schemes, while emphasizing that the government’s top officials were not involved.

                      A lab director tampered with urine samples at the Olympics and provided cocktails of performance-enhancing drugs, corrupting some of the world’s most prestigious competitions. Members of the Federal Security Service, a successor to the K.G.B., broke into sample bottles holding urine. And a deputy sports minister for years ordered cover-ups of top athletes’ use of banned substances.

                      Russian sports officials had vehemently denied the doping operation’s existence despite a detailed confession by the nation’s former antidoping lab chief, Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, in a New York Times article last May that was subsequently confirmed by global antidoping regulators.

                      An investigator appointed by the World Anti-Doping Agency, Richard McLaren, published more extensive evidence this month that prompted the International Olympic Committee to open disciplinary proceedings against dozens of additional Russian athletes.

                      Russia’s drastic shift in tone may be motivated by a desire to reconcile with the regulators, who have stipulated that the nation accept the findings of the recent investigation before the country is recertified to conduct drug testing and be a host again of Olympic competitions.

                      The officials, however, continue to reject the accusation that the doping program was state-sponsored. They define the Russian state as President Vladimir V. Putin and his closest associates.

                      Ms. Antseliovich, who has not been directly implicated in the investigations, said she was shocked by the revelations.

                      Vitaly Smirnov, 81, a top sports official whose career dates to the Soviet era and who was appointed this year by Mr. Putin to reform the nation’s antidoping system, said he did not want “to speak for the people responsible.” Mr. Smirnov said he had not met most of the individuals implicated in a report by Mr. McLaren — emphasizing that they had been dismissed as a result — nor did he know where they were.

                      “From my point of view, as a former minister of sport, president of Olympic committee — we made a lot of mistakes,” he said, echoing Mr. Putin’s broad denials of a state-sponsored system and noting that he would defer to the global governing bodies of each sport to rule on the evidence.

                      Mr. McLaren said Tuesday that he was pleased Russian officials were no longer disputing his findings, suggesting they may have been motivated to stop further investigations into the scope of cheating. “It’s damage control,” Mr. McLaren said. “There are a number of different labels you can put on the facts, and they take a different view of government, but it’s a bit of a vocabulary game.”

                      The 2014 Olympics in Sochi were a pet project for Mr. Putin, who was closely involved in politicking for and preparing for them. Proud references to the Sochi Games overwhelm the Russian Olympic Committee’s offices along the Moscow River, including a nesting doll standing roughly six feet tall in the building’s lobby signed by Russian Olympians.

                      Many of the athletes whose pictures decorate the Olympic committee’s offices have been implicated in this year’s doping scandal, with scores formally disciplined and more than 650 others now accused. One photo shows Russians kissing medals and another shows Paralympians in wheelchairs holding victory bouquets above their heads.

                      “We have to find those reasons why young sportsmen are taking doping, why they agree to be doped,” Mr. Smirnov said, expressing eagerness to move forward rather than assign responsibility for previous violations.

                      But even as he and other officials signaled their acceptance of the fundamental findings of Mr. McLaren’s investigation, they were largely unconciliatory, suggesting that cheating to benefit Russia had served to offset what they perceived as preferential treatment for Western nations by global sports authorities.

                      “Have you seen the Fancy Bear records?” Mr. Smirnov said, invoking medical records hacked by a cyberespionage group believed to be associated with G.R.U., the Russian military intelligence agency suspected of hacking computers at the Democratic National Committee. The medical records revealed that hundreds of Western athletes had been given special medical permission to take banned drugs for legitimate therapeutic reasons.

                      “Russia never had the opportunities that were given to other countries,” Mr. Smirnov said.

                      “The general feeling in Russia is that we didn’t have a chance,” he added, acknowledging that anabolic steroids like those taken by Russian athletes have never been deemed medically excusable by regulators.

                      The supposedly tamper-proof bottles that held Russian athletes’ doping samples in Sochi were manipulated — enabling officials to switch out their steroid-laced urine. Mr. Smirnov and his advisers suggested that the same thing had happened at other Olympics.

                      “It’s lucky that the WADA had Rodchenkov,” said Victor Berezov, a lawyer for Russia’s Olympic Committee. “Maybe in China, London and everywhere — maybe the same things could happen. Because the system is broken.”

                      Now, as Russia’s global track and field athletes remain barred from competition and its drug-testing operations decertified, Mr. Smirnov and a team of about two dozen people are focused on overhauling Russia’s antidoping system to satisfy global authorities. The group, selected over the summer, includes Russian politicians, Olympians, business people and even a celebrated pianist.

                      The commission has studied the antidoping systems of countries like France, Germany and Britain, Mr. Smirnov said, conducting seminars for the national governing bodies of various sports and deliberating about how to change cultural mentalities.

                      Beyond reputational concerns, there are economic considerations also motivating the commission’s work.

                      Mikhail Kusnirovich, the owner of Bosco, which outfits the Russian national team and the International Olympic Committee, is a member of Mr. Smirnov’s commission.

                      “We created the idea that it’s cool to be Russian,” Mr. Kusnirovich said, speaking proudly about his company’s designs from his office on Red Square, overlooking the Kremlin and decorated with numerous commemorative Olympic torches, including one from this year signed by the president of the I.O.C.

                      Hundreds of the uniforms for which his company had fitted Russian Olympians and Paralympians were not worn in Rio de Janeiro, site of the summer Olympic Games, because so many athletes were barred from competition. Russian government officials were also denied accreditation for the Games.

                      The doping scandal, Mr. Kusnirovich said, had hurt his company’s bottom line, depressing sales of Russian national team merchandise.

                      Russia’s place as a frequent host of global sports competitions has also been affected. Numerous competitions that were to take place in various parts of the country in early 2017 have been relocated to other nations.

                      But as officials communicated their sense of resigned acceptance, they also expressed disinterest in assigning specific accountability for systematic transgressions.

                      “I don’t believe we have enough time in life to clarify everything, to understand who’s the winner and the loser, who’s right and who’s wrong,” Mr. Kusnirovich said, calling on the authorities not to penalize the nation at a future Olympics for what happened at previous Games. “Even during Stalin’s times there was a saying: ‘The son is not responsible for his father’s sins.’”
                      Photobucket has changed it's image hosting pricings, moving my $2/month plan to $480/year -- so most of the images I have posted here will revert to dead links sometime soon. There's no workaround other than replacing them one-by-one. So my posts the forums are going to look funky for a while. My apologies.