AP

Timeline of Russia’s doping cases and cover-ups

Leave a comment

The Russian flag and national anthem have been banned from the Olympics and other major sports events for four years by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

That’s just the latest development in a five-year saga of revelations about widespread drug use by Russian athletes that has marred at least the last five Olympic Games.

Here is a timeline of the drug use, investigations and cover-ups:

Feb. 2014 — Russian President Vladimir Putin opens the Winter Olympics in Sochi, the first time Russia has hosted the Olympics since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Russian team surprises many onlookers by finishing on top of the medal table, with nearly twice as many medals as it won in 2010.

Dec. 2014 — German television channel ARD reports on allegations of corruption and systematic doping throughout Russia. Reports include accusations from former Russian Anti-Doping Agency official Vitaly Stepanov and his wife, Yulia, an 800m runner who had been banned for doping. The Stepanovs go into hiding, saying they fear for their safety.

Nov. 2015 — Citing a report by its former president Dick Pound, WADA declares Russia’s anti-doping agency noncompliant and shuts down the national drug-testing laboratory. Track and field’s governing body, the IAAF, suspends the Russian track federation in a ban that remains in place today.

May 2016 — The New York Times publishes explosive testimony by Grigory Rodchenkov, the former director of the anti-doping laboratory in Moscow. He says he switched out dirty samples for clean ones as part of a state doping program at the 2014 Winter Olympics and other major events. A follow-up investigation helmed by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren flags hundreds of covered-up doping cases in dozens of sports. The International Olympic Committee starts retesting old samples from the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, eventually banning dozens of athletes from Russia and other countries.

Aug. 2016 — Russia competes at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro with a reduced squad after dozens of athletes fail vetting of their drug-test history by sports federations. The IOC resists calls to ban Russia entirely, but the Paralympics kick Russia out. Russia’s Olympic weightlifting team is barred entirely for bringing its sport into disrepute and the track team consists of just one athlete, Darya Klishina, who gets a waiver to compete because she’s based abroad. The Russian team is fourth in the Olympic medal count.

Aug. 2017 — Nearly two years into its track ban, Russia is allowed to send a team of 19 officially neutral athletes to the world championships in London after they’re vetted by the IAAF. When Mariya Lasitskene wins gold in women’s high jump, the Russian anthem isn’t played. Two Russian silver medalists later have their IAAF status revoked amid investigations into whether they broke anti-doping rules.

Dec. 2017 — Faced with evidence of mass Russian cheating at the 2014 Winter Olympics, the IOC officially bans Russia from the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. However, it allows 168 Russians to compete as “Olympic Athletes from Russia.” They win gold in women’s figure skating and men’s hockey. Two Russians fail drug tests during the Games.

June-July 2018 — Russia hosts the men’s soccer World Cup. Before the tournament, soccer body FIFA looks into alleged doping in Russian soccer but doesn’t issue any sanctions.

Sept. 2018 — WADA reinstates the Russian anti-doping agency against opposition from many Western athletes, who feel Russia hasn’t publicly accepted it cheated. WADA’s condition is for Russia to turn over stored data and samples from the Moscow laboratory that could implicate more athletes. Russia misses the initial December deadline but finally hands over the files in Jan. 2019.

Oct. 2018 — U.S. prosecutors allege Russian military intelligence officers hacked sports organizations, including at the 2018 Olympics, as it tried to paint athletes from other countries as cheats.

June 2019 — Former IAAF president Lamine Diack is ordered to stand trial in France over accusations of corruption, including an alleged scheme to cover up failed drug tests in return for payments from athletes. Evidence has emerged suggesting that as much as $3.5 million may have been squeezed out of Russian athletes to hush up their doping.

Sept. 2019 — With four days to go until the track world championships in Doha, Qatar, WADA says it has found signs that the lab data handed over by Russia eight months earlier may have been tampered with. Russia is given three weeks to explain, and the Russian Olympic Committee expresses concern it could be barred from the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Dec. 2019 — The Russian flag and national anthem are banned from the Olympics and other major sports events for four years by WADA. Russian athletes will be allowed to compete in major events as neutrals only if they are not implicated in positive doping tests or their data was not manipulated.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Russia track and field faces expulsion threat over new doping allegations

World champion wins doping case citing bodily fluids from boyfriend

AP
Leave a comment

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — A world champion canoeist won a doping case Monday after persuading a tribunal that her positive test was caused by bodily fluid contamination from her boyfriend.

The International Canoe Federation (ICF) ended its investigation into 11-time world champion Laurence Vincent Lapointe, who tested positive for a steroid-like substance in July. She faced a four-year ban and could have missed her event’s Olympic debut at the Tokyo Games.

The Canadian canoe sprint racer and her lawyer detailed in a news program that laboratory analysis of hair from her then-boyfriend showed he was likely responsible for a tiny presence of ligandrol in her doping sample.

“The ICF has accepted Ms. Vincent Lapointe’s evidence which supports that she was the victim of third-party contamination,” the governing body said in a statement, clearing her to return to competition.

The legal debate is similar to tennis player Richard Gasquet’s 2009 acquittal in the “cocaine kiss” case. The Court of Arbitration for Sport accepted Gasquet’s defense that kissing a woman who had taken cocaine in a Miami nightclub, after he had withdrawn injured from a tournament, caused his positive test.

The 27-year-old Vincent Lapointe was provisionally suspended for almost six months and missed the 2019 World Championships, which was a key qualifying event for the Tokyo Olympics. American 17-year-old Nevin Harrison won the 200m world title in her absence.

She can still qualify for the Olympic debut of women’s canoe sprint events with victory at a World Cup event in May in Germany.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Viral Olympic moments of 2010s decade

U.S. women’s soccer team begins Olympic qualifying, which should rest on one match

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The U.S. women’s soccer team has never been in danger in Olympic qualifying, but that doesn’t change this fact: It must win on Feb. 7 to reach the Tokyo Games.

The CONCACAF tournament begins Tuesday in Houston, where the world champion Americans face world No. 72 Haiti. The last two group games are against No. 68 Panama on Friday and No. 37 Costa Rica on Feb. 3. The top two nations from the group advance to Feb. 7 semifinals.

The U.S. roster, with 18 of its 20 players coming from the 2019 World Cup team, is here.

Since CONCACAF qualifies two nations to the Olympics, the semifinals are the deciding games.

Should the U.S. win its group, it would face the runner-up from the other group in a winner-goes-to-Tokyo match. The other group (world ranking):

Canada (8)
Mexico (37)
Jamaica (53)
St. Kitts and Nevis (127)

Chaos could result in the unlikely event that either the U.S. or Canada finishes second in its group, and the two North American powers play a semifinal.

The U.S. is undefeated in Olympic qualifying history, since the tournament format began in 2004 — 15-0 with a goal differential of 88-1 (not counting matches played once they’ve already clinched qualification). The lone goal allowed came in a group-stage match in 2008, when the U.S. was already assured a spot in the semifinals.

Still, the U.S. knows the feeling of one poor outing in an important match. In 2010, it lost to Mexico in a winner-to-the-World Cup match. The U.S. was forced to win a last-chance, home-and-home playoff against a UEFA team — Italy — for the last spot in the World Cup.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Viral Olympic moments of 2010s decade