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Russian Hackers Break Into WADA Database

Files claiming that top US athletes received a green light from the World Anti-Doping Agency to take banned substances have been published on the website of the hacktivist group Fancy Bear.


The documents revealed Serena Williams, one of the world’s greatest ever tennis players, was taking a number of banned substances including Oxycodone, Hydromorphone, Prednisone, and Methylprednisolone in 2010, 2014, and 2015, despite the substances being placed on list of banned substances of the World Anti-Doping Agency. The documents also revealed Williams had been given special permission to take some of the drugs and the authorization was given by Dr. Stuart Miller from the International Tennis Federation (ITF).

The documents also disclosed American gymnast Simone Biles tested positive for Methylphenidate after a urine sample was provided and she was given special dispensation to take the drug. The International Federation of Gymnastics remarked Biles has a therapeutic use exemption, there is nothing we have to mention about that, everything is absolutely clear and according to the rules.

The leaked papers also disclosed the drug test of US basketball star Elena Delle Donne revealed that she had used amphetamine. In her defense, Elena said she would like to thank the hackers for making the world aware that she legally takes a prescription for a condition that she had been diagnosed with, for which WADA granted her an exemption. The papers disclosed the athlete has been taking Hydrocortisone, which falls into the glucocorticoids bracket (banned by WADA), since 2014.

It was also revealed Serena’s older sister Venus was found to have taken Prednisone, Prednisolone, Triamcinolone, and Formoterol. The documents disclosed Venus Williams was granted special dispensation to take the substances as long as she adhered to various conditions regarding the use of the drugs. The ITF said the Williams sisters had permission for the therapeutic use of banned drugs.

The US anti-doping agency, sports federations, and athletes themselves have gone public to deny any wrongdoing. In a statement, WADA confirmed and condemned the cyber attack and noted that the cyber intrusion was conducted by a Russian hacker team and that it is taking the attack “very seriously.”

In the statement, WADA said the group accessed athlete data, including confidential medical data - such as Therapeutic Use Exemptions delivered by International Sports Federations (IFs) and National Anti-Doping Organizations (NADOs) - related to the Rio Games. WADA added the informed was obtained through spear phishing of email accounts. Olivier Niggli, WADA Director General, said WADA Condemns these ongoing cyber-attacks that are being carried out in an attempt to undermine WADA and the global anti-doping system. Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has strongly denied any possible Russian involvement in the hacking attack on the World Anti-Doping Agency.

The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) remarked the athletes have done nothing wrong. USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart stated the athlete in fact in each of the situations has done everything right in adhering to the global rules of obtaining permission to use a needed medication. Tygart added all the medications were approved by the respective international federations, WADA, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

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Written by
Albert Wolfgang is a professional medical writer with over 20 years of experience. He hold multiple personal training certifications, including the coveted NASM and AFAA certificates. He graduated with honors with a B.S. and M.S. in biochemistry with a minor in physical studies. Albert and his team have trained over 100 IFBB professional bodybuilders, including Hollywood stars and many up and coming fitness stars.

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