The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) confirmed on Monday that the Russian Ministry of Sport oversaw doping and the manipulation of athlete’s analytical test results and sample swapping at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
WADA’s independent commission report, led by Canadian law professor and sports lawyer Richard McLaren, found that a Moscow laboratory protected doped athletes at the games.
The findings renewed calls for Russia to be completely banned from the Olympics in Rio next month, including from organisations such as the United States Anti-Doping Agency.
The report said that The Russian Ministry of Sport “directed, controlled and oversaw” the actions at the Moscow doping lab.
It also addressed accusations made by former Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory head Grigory Rodchenkov. He claimed two months ago that 4 Russian gold medalists had doped at the Sochi games and that the positive urine samples of approximately 15 medal winners were swapped for clean samples.
McLaren’s report deemed Rodchenkov and the other witnesses interviewed as credible. It also said that the personnel at the laboratory did not have a choice in whether or not to be part of the state-directed program.
McLaren found evidence that the laboratory operated a new and “unique” sample-switching system to cover up tainted samples. Evidence of tampering on sample bottles tested was also found.
Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) responded to the findings saying that “the IOC will not hesitate to take the toughest sanctions available against any individual or organization implicated.”
The Sochi Games was the most expensive in Olympic history, costing about $50 billion. Team Russia topped the medal table with 13 gold medals and 33 overall.
In May, WADA appointed McLaren to lead an investigation after the organisation was criticized following allegations regarding the oversight of Team Russia and the fact that WADA is funded by the International Olympic Committee.
McLaren was a former member of an independent report which last year resulted in Russian track and field athletes being banned from the Rio games after exposing doping and corruption among the athletes and officials.