Russian officials deny report they admitted to doping program

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The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) and its director general denied a New York Times report that Russian officials, including the director general, admitted that a doping program for the Sochi Olympics took place.

To be clear, Russian sports officials, specifically former sports minister Vitaly Mutko, have for months admitted that there is a doping problem in the country.

On Tuesday, the newspaper reported that Russian officials “admitted they carried out widespread Olympic doping.”

“It was an institutional conspiracy,” RUSADA director general Anna Antseliovich said, according to the newspaper, which added that she spoke “of years’ worth of cheating schemes, while emphasizing that the government’s top officials were not involved.”

On Wednesday, Antseliovich said her words were taken out of context, according to a Facebook account reported to be hers by Russian media.

Also Wednesday, RUSADA said Antseliovich’s words “institutional conspiracy” were taken out of context. They were referring to a summation of the previously published McLaren report on Russian doping, RUSADA said.

“[The newspaper report] created an impression that RUSADA management admits to the existence of such institutional conspiracy of doping cover-up in Russia,” RUSADA’s statement read. “We would like to stress that RUSADA has no authority to admit to or deny any such fact, since the investigation of the case is handled by the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation.”

The International Olympic Committee has said there is evidence of violations regarding Russian athletes’ doping samples in Sochi.

The IOC opened disciplinary cases against 28 Russian athletes from Sochi “for whom there is evidence of manipulation of one or more of their urine samples” from those Winter Games.

Six Russian cross-country skiers have already been provisionally suspended by the International Ski Federation (FIS) in connection with the IOC disciplinary cases.

Russian media reported the six include the two most decorated Russian skiers from the Sochi Olympics — 50km gold and silver medalists Alexander Legkov and Maxim Vylegzhanin.

FIS would not confirm or deny the names. The Russia Ski Association has not responded to a request for comment.

MORE: Over 1,000 Russian athletes involved in organized doping, report says