Three Russian cyclists are suing the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and investigator Richard McLaren for damages after McLaren’s report to WADA kept them out of the Rio Olympics last summer.
McLaren, a Canadian professor, led an investigation on Russia after allegations surfaced of a widespread, state-sponsored doping program. McLaren released two reports, mostly centered on athletics, but exposing what McLaren found to be major breaches of anti-doping policy, including a compromised WADA testing lab in Moscow and a system of sample-swapping that McLaren says Russia used to protect athletes from positive doping tests.
You can read about that first report here. A second report at the end of the year brought more allegations, including evidence that the institutional doping and cover-up programs continued past the Sochi Olympics in 2014.
The McLaren Reports were independent studies commissioned by WADA, and when McLaren gave his first report, the world’s anti-doping authority recommended that all Russian athletes in every sport be banned from the 2016 Olympics in Rio. The International Olympic Committee, though, chose to pass the decisions on to each sport’s national governing body, with athletes banned on a case-by-case basis. 271 of Russia’s 389 original entrants across all sports did compete in Rio. That included three high-profile swimmers who were on the cusp of facing bans: Yulia Efimova, Vladimir Morozov and Nikita Lobintsev.
But three Russian cyclists were among those banned. Now, the BBC reports that Kirill Sveshnikov, Dmitry Strakhov and Dmitry Sokolov have filed suit against WADA and McLaren in a Canadian court, seeking damages after suffering “great reputational harm.”
“Together, Wada and Dr Richard McLaren prevented us from reaching our lifelong goal of participating in the Rio Olympics, the pinnacle of our sport, and we allege that they wrongly associated our names with cheaters and doping,” said Sveshnikov in the BBC piece.
None of the three were individually named in the McLaren Reports (which centered mostly on athletics), but they did appeal their bans to the Court of Arbitration for Sport last summer, losing the appeal and their chance to compete in Rio.