Search icon


18th Jul 2016

Russian government supported widespread doping in Olympic sports, Wada claim

Russia could be banned entirely from this year's summer Olympics.

Carl Anka

A new report has revealed Russia ran a state sponsored doping programme during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

An investigation conducted by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) came to the conclusion that the Russian sports ministry “directed, controlled and oversaw” the manipulation of urine samples provided by Russian athletes.

The revelations could increase pressure on Russian athletes to be banned from the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The report is the culmination of a two month investigation led by Dr Richard McLaren. A full copy of his findings, of which he has “unwavering confidence” in, can be found here.

The report shows a number of Russian athletes being found positive for banned substances, but then having their test results go “missing”, or swapped for a negative test.

McLaren’s report primarily looked into allegations made by the former head of Russia’s national anti-doping laboratory – Grigory Rodchenkov.

Rodchenkov claimed he doped ‘dozens’ of athletes before the 2014 Games, including 15 medallists, with four of them winning gold medals.

McLaren report confirms that some medals won at the Sochi Olympics were by athletes who were doping, but when asked how many, could only say “several”.

Dr McLaren was also reluctant to name any athletes who were found to be doping, but says his report lists both summer and winter Olympic sports.

In a damning statement the doctor said those within Russian set up was aware of the wide scale doping, adding “every [positive] sample was sent up the chain of the command”, so the system in place at the Moscow lab would have affected “the vast majority of sports”,

It appears the Moscow Laboratory operated the doping ring and the Sochi lab swapped samples all under the eye of the Russian Ministry of Sport oversaw the process, with participation from the Russian security service.

Following the report, Wada can recommend for governing bodies, including the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to ban athletes.

At time of writing, only Russian track and field competitors are ineligible to compete in the Olympics

Russian sports media has long anticipated a bad outcome from McLaren’s commission since the outset.

As reported in the BBC, news website said the report could mark the start of “the most difficult week in the history of Russian sport”, while newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets reckoned the entire Olympic movement faced its “darkest” day.

Sports news website Sport Ekspress felt the report could have “irreversible consequences for Russia for years to come”, but popular sports website claimed the investigation was a co-ordinated anti-Russian plot.

It remains to be seen what this means for Russia’s hosting of the 2018 World Cup.