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Volume 6 No. 235
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Doping Whistleblower Urges IOC To Ban Russia From PyeongChang 2018

Russia "must be banned" from the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics because "the long, cold winter of doping continues to maintain its icy grip" in the country, a whistleblower said, according to Nathanson & Jennings of the BBC. Vitaly Stepanov urged the IOC to ban Russia from the Games when it decides on the matter on Tuesday. In his testimony to the IOC commission investigating claims of state-sponsored doping, Stepanov wrote that "hundreds of Olympic dreams have been stolen by the doping system" in his homeland. The testimony added that there are "many Russian athletes competing now only because their government blocked access to evidence." Former Russian anti-doping agency worker Stepanov and his wife, Russian 800m runner Yuliya Stepanova, "were the main whistleblowers in a series of German television documentaries" in '14. They are now in hiding in the U.S. Stepanov also claimed that:

  • Former Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko "created and ran" Russia's "state-directed doping program."
  • Mutko "received help from other state officials" including "Vladimir Putin's authorisation of a decree that required urine and blood samples carried by foreign anti-doping inspectors to be approved."
  • The "key players involved in the doping era" still enjoy "power and influence over Russian sport."
  • There have been been "direct threats" to his and his wife's safety (BBC, 12/3).
In London, Martyn Ziegler reported a 50-page affidavit and supporting documents submitted to the IOC by Grigory Rodchenkov "will increase the pressure on Olympic officials" who meet this week to decide whether to ban the country from the Winter Games. Two "explosive memos" were leaked about the Russian doping system that former Moscow Laboratory Dir Rodchenkov said are in the affidavit that he sent to Mutko. One memo is a "detailed history" of Russia's doping program that Rodchenkov told the commission he sent to Mutko in Jan. '15 after the scandal was revealed by German broadcaster ARD. Mutko on Friday "strongly denied" claims that Russia had operated a state-organized doping system. Jim Walden, Rodchenkov's N.Y.-based lawyer, said, "He escaped Russia because someone at the Kremlin tipped him off that he was going to be murdered. This was after the head of RUSADA [Russian Anti-Doping Agency] and his predecessor had both died in extremely suspicious circumstances within a week of each other" (LONDON TIMES, 12/2).

'RUSSIANS DID IT': In N.Y., Hodge & Cohen reported the Russian Olympic Committee tweeted photos last week of clothing from the designer of the national Olympic collection with slogans like "I DON'T DO DOPING" and "RUSSIANS DID IT!" The "strange tweets, which seemingly reference allegations that Russia engaged in a massive state-sponsored doping program at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, come at an equally strange time." In the meantime, the Russians proceeded with the "usual Olympic pomp," unveiling the attire for a Games "where they might not be allowed" in a fashion show that turned out to be a "defiant statement of its own." Sportswear designer Zasport presented the country's Olympic uniform in a re-purposed industrial mill that has become a "hip Moscow art space." A spokesperson for the ROC referred questions about the fashion collection to Zasport (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 12/1).