WADA to immediately probe report of Russian doping at Sochi Olympics

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The World Anti-Doping Agency will immediately look into the latest Russian doping allegations after last week’s report that four Sochi Olympic gold medalists were taking steroids.

“WADA will probe these new allegations immediately,” WADA president Craig Reedie said in a press release. “The claims made in the program offer real cause for concern, as they contain new allegations regarding attempts to subvert the anti-doping process at the Sochi Games.”

Last week’s CBS report was based on a whistleblower who previously provided evidence of Russian track and field doping.

The whistleblower, Vitaly Stepanov, a former Russian anti-doping official, said he learned of Russian cheating at the Sochi Olympics from Grigory Rodchenkov, former director of a Moscow drug-testing lab that was stripped of its accreditation by the World Anti-Doping Agency in April.

An independent WADA commission interviewed Rodchenkov last year about Russian track and field doping.

“Regrettably, he was not forthcoming with such information related to the Sochi Games,” Reedie said in its press release Tuesday. “It is surprising to hear these views so many months after the commission concluded its work.”

Before the widespread Russian track and field cheating came to light, Stepanov sent 200 emails and 50 letters to WADA over a three-year span detailing Russian doping, but WADA said it did not have the power to investigate Russia, according to the CBS report.

“On behalf of WADA, I would also like to acknowledge that the Stepanovs who, as reflected by 60 Minutes and other media outlets, felt there was some level of inaction by WADA in the period leading up to the formation of our independent commission in January 2015,” Reedie said in the press release. “There is no question that the Stepanovs provided vital information and intelligence that allowed the commission to be established; and, without which, widespread doping in Russian athletics may never have truly been exposed. What may have appeared as inaction reflected the fact that, until the revised World Anti-Doping Code came into effect on 1 January 2015, WADA did not have the power to conduct its own investigations. At the time, the agency was only able to collect information and pass it on to those that did have the power to investigate, in this case, the Russian authorities. WADA believes that passing the whistleblowers’ information on to the Russian authorities would not have resulted in the required scrutiny.”

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