An independent report published by the World Anti-Doping Agency found that Russia — the country no one ever, ever, EVER would expect to cheat in an international athletic competition — knowingly enabled doping among their athletes participating in the 2012 London Olympics (where they won 24 gold medals). The investigation found a “deeply rooted culture of cheating at all levels,” meaning coverups, obfuscation, destruction of evidence and encouragement of the use of banned substances by the state.
No joke. The man who led the investigation — former WADA president Dick Pound — concluded that the Russian government consented to widespread cheating.
Here’s a rundown of the findings from the 335-page report…
1. A Deeply Rooted Culture of Cheating – The investigation indicates that the acceptance of cheating at all levels is widespread and of long standing. Many of the more egregious offenders appear to be coaches who, themselves, were once athletes and who work in connection with medical personnel. This ‘win at all costs’ mentality was then passed to current athletes, whether willing to participate or not. An athlete’s decision not to participate is likely to leave him or her without access to top calibre coaches and thus the opportunity to excel. This acceptance and, at times, expectation of cheating and disregard for testing and other globally accepted anti-doping efforts, indicate a fundamentally flawed mindset that is deeply ingrained in all levels of Russian athletics. The mindset is “justified” on the theory that everyone else is cheating as well.
2. Exploitation of Athletes – As a result of this mindset, an open and accepted series
of unethical behaviours and practices has become the norm. In addition, the
pursuit of medals and exploitation of athletes for financial gain is well
pronounced across Russian athletics. Russian athletes were often willing participants. However, there are documented cases where athletes who did not want to participate in ‘the program’ were informed they would not be considered as part of the federation’s national team for competition. Also, other coercive activities were employed to gain the athletes’ participation in doping activities, such as being unable to engage the highest calibre coaching assistance.
3. Confirmed Athletes Cheating – This Report outlines consistent and systematic
use of performance enhancing drugs by many Russian athletes. This Report also
identified a high percentage of athletes who were unwilling to participate in the
IC investigation. The IC also found that many athletes were not filing accurate
contact information for whereabouts purposes and many who clearly refused to
cooperate with the investigation.
4. Confirmed Involvement by Doctors, Coaches and Laboratory Personnel – This
Report confirms allegations that some Russian doctors and/or laboratory
personnel acted as enablers for systematic cheating along with athletics coaches.
This Report also identifies the intentional and malicious destruction of more than
1,400 samples by Moscow laboratory officials after receiving written notification
from WADA to preserve target samples. The investigation has revealed many
instances of inadequate testing and poor compliance around testing standards.
The IOC is expected to consider banning Russia from the 2016 games in Rio, which makes sense. They’ve been the world-leaders in Olympic doping violations since the IOC started testing athletes for performance enhancing drugs, and all they’ve done to combat the problem has been to move it deeper underground.
“It’s worse than we thought,” Pound said. “It’s residue from the old Soviet Union.”
— ProPublica (@ProPublica) November 9, 2015