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.