Russian sports ministry operated doping program, WADA says

By Andrew V. Pestano Follow @AVPLive9 Contact the Author   |  July 18, 2016 at 10:29 AM
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MOSCOW, July 18 (UPI) -- A report released Monday by the World Anti-Doping Agency has accused the Russian government of operating a doping program during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games.

Russia's Ministry of Sport "directed, controlled and oversaw" the manipulation of urine samples provided by professional Russian athletes, according to the investigation commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, or WADA.

Dr. Richard McLaren, who led the two-month investigation, said he has "unwavering confidence" in the report.

"The Moscow Laboratory operated, for the protection of doped Russian athletes, within a state-dictated failsafe system," the report said. "The Sochi Laboratory operated a unique sample swapping methodology to enable doped Russian athletes to compete at the Games."

Doping allegations have fueled calls for Russia to be completely banned from the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro set to begin Aug. 5.

About 12 percent of drug violations in international sport in 2013, the last year of complete statistics, involved Russian athletes, far more than from any other country.

The investigation against Russia began after Grigory Rodchenkov, a chemist who ran the laboratory that handled testing for thousands of Olympians, claimed he was responsible for preparing the drugs for athletic use.

"The Ministry of Sport directed, controlled and oversaw the manipulation of athlete's analytical results or sample swapping," the report states.

Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, previously said the accusations are "groundless."

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