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Vladimir Putin may have consulted on Russia track and field doping, report says

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MUNICH (AP) — IAAF leaders must have been aware of the full scale of doping in Russia but did nothing to stop it, and the track and field organization itself was riddled by corruption, a report by a World Anti-Doping Agency panel said Thursday.

The full report is here.

“It is increasingly clear that far more IAAF staff knew about the problems than has currently been acknowledged,” said the report, written by former WADA president Dick Pound and presented at a news conference in Munich.

“It is not credible that elected officials were unaware of the situation affecting … athletics in Russia. If, therefore, the circle of knowledge was so extensive why was nothing done? Quite obviously there was no appetite on the part of the IAAF to challenge Russia.”

The report added: “The corruption was embedded in the organization. It cannot be ignored or dismissed as attributable to the odd renegade acting on its own.”

Pound’s commission found that former IAAF president Lamine Diack “was responsible for organizing and enabling the conspiracy and corruption” that took place.

Diack “sanctioned and appears to have had personal knowledge of the fraud and the extortion of athletes,” the report said.

The WADA panel laid considerable blame at the feet of the IAAF Council, the overseeing body that included the current president of the IAAF, Sebastian Coe.

Pound’s report said council members “could not have been unaware of the level of nepotism that operated within the IAAF,” and also “could not have been unaware of the extent of doping.”

Coe was in the audience as Pound presented his findings. He listened as Pound rattled off some grim conclusions about the IAAF, including that it remains, he said, an organization in denial.

But Pound backed Coe to stay at the helm of the IAAF, saying he was the best man to lead the organization out of the crisis and restore its credibility.

“As far as the ability of Lord Coe to remain as head of the IAAF, I think it’s a fabulous opportunity for the IAAF to seize this opportunity and under strong leadership to move forward,” Pound said. “There’s enormous amount of reputational recovery that has to occur here and I can’t … think of anyone better than Lord Coe to lead that.”

The report also details a relationship between Diack and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

With cases against nine Russian athletes unresolved and the 2013 world championships looming, the report says Diack explained to a lawyer that he is in a “difficult position that could only be resolved by President Putin of Russia with whom he had struck up a friendship.”

Pound said the IAAF should not be disbanded. He said he doesn’t believe the federation’s problems are as grave as those that have brought down the leadership of soccer governing body FIFA.

When Coe took over the presidency in August, he was lavish in his praise of Diack, who led the IAAF for 16 years. The allegations that have since emerged became an increasing source of embarrassment to Coe.

But Pound said he believes Coe had “not the faintest idea of the extent” of Diack’s alleged corruption when he took power.

Diack was taken into custody by French authorities in November on corruption and money-laundering charges, suspected of taking more than 1 million euros ($1.1 million) to blackmail athletes and cover up positive tests.

His son, Papa Massata Diack, who worked as an IAAF marketing consultant, was banned from the sport for life in a ruling last week by the IAAF ethics commission. Two Russian officials were also banned for life for engaging in blackmail, bribery and extortion to cover up a doping case involving Russian marathoner Liliya Shobuhkova.

A fourth official, former IAAF anti-doping director Gabriel Dolle, received a five-year ban.

Pound’s first report, issued in November, detailed a state-sponsored doping program in Russia involving corruption and cover-ups. That led the IAAF to suspend Russia’s track and field federation, leaving its athletes in danger of missing this year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The new report said Lamine Diack essentially ran the IAAF as his own fiefdom, with “a close inner circle” that functioned “as an illegitimate governance structure,” including when it came to Russian doping. The inner circle included Diack’s son and his personal lawyer, Habib Cisse, who functioned as a “powerful rogue group.”

Richard McLaren, a member of the commission, said Diack’s inner circle may also have corrupted the process of selecting and not selecting cities for IAAF world championships and sponsorship deals. He recommended that more investigation was needed on those suspicions.

The investigators suspect athletes from other countries may also have been blackmailed and they may only have so far examined “the tip of the iceberg” of efforts to extort athletes, McLaren said.

The report came two days after the AP released details from six years of IAAF internal emails, reports and notes showing a high level of communication between the athletics federation and Russian officials about suspicious test results from the nation’s athletes, including plans to cover up some doping evidence.

MORE: IAAF officials explored covering up Russia bans

Chloe Dygert crashes over guard rail at world championships, has surgery

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American Chloé Dygert crashed over a guard rail at the world road cycling championships time trial, where she appeared en route to a repeat title, and underwent leg surgery as a result.

Dygert, who last year won by the largest margin in history as the youngest-ever champion, lost control of her bike while approaching a curve to the right. Her front wheel bobbled, and she collided with the barricade, flipping over into an area with grass.

Dygert, who had a left leg laceration, was tended to by several people, put on a stretcher and taken to a hospital in Bologna, Italy, about 25 miles from the worlds host of Imola.

“We are relieved that this crash was not worse than what it could have been,” USA Cycling chief of sport performance Jim Miller said in a press release. “While this crash is distressing, Chloe is young and a fighter. With Chloe’s determination, we know she will be back riding before we know it. For now, we want her to focus on healing.”

About 10 minutes after the crash, Dutchwoman Anna van der Breggen won her first time trial title.

Van der Breggen took silver the last three years behind Dygert and countrywoman Annemiek van Vleuten, who missed this year’s race after breaking her wrist last week in the Giro Rosa.

Dygert, 23, had a 26-second lead at the 14-kilometer time check of the 31-kilometer race. Full results are here.

Dygert qualified for the Tokyo Olympics when she won last year’s world time trial title. She has been bidding to make the Olympics on the road and the track.

Worlds continue Friday with the men’s time trial airing on Olympic Channel and NBC Sports Gold for Cycling Pass subscribers at 8:15 a.m. ET. A full TV schedule is here.

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MORE: USA Cycling names Olympic team finalists

2020 French Open men’s singles draw, bracket

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Rafael Nadal was put into the same half of the French Open draw as fellow 2018 and 2019 finalist Dominic Thiem of Austria, with top-ranked Novak Djokovic catching a break.

Nadal, trying to tie Roger Federer‘s male record 20 Grand Slam singles titles, could play sixth-seeded German Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinals before a potential clash with Thiem, who just won the U.S. Open.

Djokovic, who is undefeated in 2020 save being defaulted out of the U.S. Open, could play No. 7 seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy in the quarterfinals before a possible semifinal with Russian Daniil Medvedev.

Medvedev is the fourth seed but is 0-3 at the French Open. Another possible Djokovic semifinal opponent is fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, who reached the fourth round last year.

The most anticipated first-round matchup is between three-time major champion Andy Murray and 2015 French Open champion Stan Wawrinka. In Murray’s most recent French Open match, he lost in five sets to Wawrinka in the 2017 semifinals.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women | TV Schedule

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