WADA Commission Releases Report on Systematic Russian Doping

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has announced the release of its special commission’s report on doping in sport, and it is reported to reveal a systematic and pervasive doping culture in Russian sports that reaches up to high levels of the government. The commission, headed by Dick Pound, found abuse to be particularly high in athletics (track and field), and has suggested banning Russia from all IAAF competition until they become compliant.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), which is the international governing body for the sport of athletics, headquartered in Monaco, and presided over by Sebastian Coe, has been the subject of controversy lately. It has been accused of turning a blind eye to hundreds of suspicious blood tests over the last decade or so.

The WADA commission’s investigation came about after the December 2014 airing of a documentary by the German public broadcaster ARD, entitled, “The secrets of Doping: How Russia makes its winners?” Following ten months of investigation, the commission concluded that Russian coaches, athletes, a laboratory in Moscow, and anti-doping authorities engaged in widespread doping and cover-ups. There is even the hint that the Ministry of Sport could be involved.

We have reported on Russian swimmers over the last several years:

But the WADA commission’s report goes much further, suggesting that in track and field, at least, the entire Russian Federation is corrupt and should be banned from competition.

Meanwhile, whistleblowers leaked to the Sunday Times and WADA some 12,000 samples of blood tests taken from 2001-2012, which suggest that many Olympic and World Championship distance runners were allowed to compete despite suspicious findings. That investigation is still ongoing and not included in today’s report.

The fallout from the report is only just beginning. France has announced it is investigating the former IAAF president, Lamine Diack of Senegal, for allegedly taking bribes to allow athletes with tainted blood samples to compete in the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Dr Gabriel Dollé, the former director of the IAAF’s medical and anti-doping department, is also under criminal investigation for taking bribes.

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6 years ago

That’s one huge bomb they dropped

6 years ago

WADA should continue the fight. This is watershed moment…the future of sport must remain clean and have accountability.

Mary S
6 years ago

At this ridiculous point in time, it is the clean athletes who remain to be the punished ones. All that training and hard work, to possibly be beat by cheaters. Only a competitor with the heart of an athlete could continue his or her training in this environment. And that is who our American athletes are: the most respectable and impressive athletes in the world.

Reply to  Mary S
6 years ago

I wish I shared your optimism. We don’t seem to get caught as much as some countries’ athletes, but there isn’t a single athlete on the Olympic team that I believe is totally morally above doping. I’m not leveling any accusations, I don’t even have any specific suspicions, but as much money and prestige (and, conversely, potential shame) is in sports these days, particularly around the Olympic years, I believe it would be naive to allow oneself to put too much trust in the integrity of any athlete.

Sean S
6 years ago

Anyone who is surprised by this just hasn’t been paying attention. And as someone who is a big fan of Olympic Weightlifting I can tell you it is not limited to Russia or just track and field. Weightlifting national championships in Russia are not even compliant with International Weightlifting Federation standards so that they can do their own testing on the athletes before they send them to international competitions where they would be subject to stricter testing and punishments. The same occurs for weightlifting in Iran, Kazakhstan, China, and quite a few other countries that perform well internationally. We can all pretend this isn’t happening in swimming, and while it might not be as pervasive it is absolutely a part… Read more »

james little
6 years ago

As a father of a 2 time olympic synchronized swimmer this is not news to me it was deceided before the girls hit the water.

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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