Putin Says Doping Allegations Are Intended To Sow Discontent Ahead Of Elections
Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested on Thursday that allegations of a state-sponsored doping program in Russia were "an attempt to sow discontent ahead of the country's presidential elections," according to Polina Nikolskaya of REUTERS. Putin said, "This is what is bothering me: the (PyeongChang Winter) Olympics start in February, and when are our presidential elections? In March. There are big suspicions that all this is being done to create for someone the necessary conditions for discontent among sport lovers, athletes." Putin, "widely expected to stand in and win the elections," also suggested the U.S.'s influence in int'l sports organizations "could be having a deleterious effect on Russia." Putin said that the U.S. was home to "the main companies that order and pay for television rights, the main sponsors and advertisers" of major sporting events. Putin: "In retaliation for our alleged meddling in their election, they (the United States) want to create problems in the election of the president of Russia" (REUTERS, 11/9).
ANONYMOUS ADMISSIONS: In London, Marc Bennetts reported two Russian athletes admitted taking banned performance-enhancing substances given to them by Grigory Rodchenkov, the scientist who said that he "orchestrated a massive state-sponsored doping" program before the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. The Russian authorities deny such a program existed but Rodchenkov, who headed the country's main anti-doping laboratory from '05-15, said that "at least 14 medal winners took part and that tainted urine samples from Russian athletes were substituted for clean ones to help them pass drug tests at the Games." This is the first time any Russian athletes have confessed to using "doping cocktails" supplied by Rodchenkov, who fled to the U.S. last year. The anonymous athletes told Match TV, Russia's biggest sports channel, that the substances were supplied to them by Rodchenkov in unmarked pill containers, dissolved in the mouth and washed down with alcohol. One of the athletes said, "They weren't to be used every day but whenever I felt I was tired, so as to speed up the recovery process. The effect was very powerful." An athletics manager, also speaking anonymously, told the TV channel the substances were provided to "elite" athletes. A third athlete said that she "only pretended to take the banned substances and she was unaware of their exact contents" (GUARDIAN, 11/9).