A Russian whistleblower has revealed that at least four of Russia's gold medal winners at the Sochi Winter Olympics were on anabolic steroids.
In an interview to be broadcast on 60 Minutes Sunday, May 8 at 7 p.m. ET/PT, Vitaly Stepanov exposed the state-sponsored doping that got the Russian team suspended from international competition last November. Stepanov, a former official with the Russian Anti-Doping Agency along with his wife Yuliya, a former star on the Russian track team, made the revelations. The couple has taken refuge in the United States in fear of retaliation. Grigory Rodchenkov, who ran Russia's drug testing lab, is also in exile in the United States.
Stepanov and his wife Yulia disclosed details about doping on the Russian track team. This led to an investigation that has put status of the team in jeopardy for the upcoming Summer Olympics. The participation of Russian track and field athletes will be determined next month at a meeting of the sport's governing body.
Rodchenkov told Stepanov that Russian Intelligence Officers helped Russia cheat at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Vitaly said FSB tried to control every single step of the anti-doping process in Sochi and added he was told by Rodchenkov he has the "Sochi List" of Russian athletes who competed there on anabolic steroids, four of whom he said were gold medal winners.
Rodchenkov was alleged to have requested and accepted money to conceal positive drug tests by the WADA independent commission report in November; he immediately resigned.
Travis Tygart, head of the United States Anti Doping Agency, said it is a stunning revelation and remarked this is a devastating blow to the Olympic values if true. Tygart added USADA has already made his mind up about participation of Russian athletes at the Rio Olympics and remarked they cannot come at the expense of the rights of clean athletes.
In another development, former WADA President Dick Pound has remarked it would be difficult to trust Russian athletes after the recent events if the country succeeds in overturning its ban from international competition. Pound said he is still skeptical that Russia has acted quickly enough to fix its problems and suggested the country was just rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic. The 74-year-old, while speaking at the Sport Resolutions Conference in London, remarked we said when we delivered our report back in November they could get back in if they went full speed ahead to do the job properly, but it is up to them. The ex-WADA chief also remarked there will be a lot pressure to get them back in and from a system point of view, it would be nice to have everybody at the Games but whether that makes sense in terms of the changes they’ve made remains to be seen and also commented that he believes there are still some elements of denial in Russia.
The comments of Pound were supported by the women’s world-record holder for the marathon, Paula Radcliffe, who said she remains very suspicious of claims made by Russian authorities that they have solved doping problems. Paula added we are all suspicious that they can do what they need to do to assure us the entire team is clean to compete fairly in Rio.
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