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Doping Crisis Threatens 2018 Winter Olympic Games

Clean sport leaders call on IOC to fulfill responsibility to discipline Russia, protect clean athletes and Olympic Games

Denver, Colorado  Less than five months before the start of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, seventeen National Anti-Doping Organization (NADO) leaders held a fourth special meeting since the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and addressed the International Olympic Committee’s continuing refusal to hold Russia accountable for one of the biggest doping scandals in sports history, saying IOC inaction imperils clean athletes and the future of the Olympic movement.

Over a two-day meeting, NADO leaders called on the IOC to ban the Russian Olympic Committee from participation in the 2018 Winter Games for proven corruption of the Sochi Olympic Games and continuing failure in its obligations to clean sport.

“A country’s sport leaders and organizations should not be given credentials to the Olympics when they intentionally violate the rules and rob clean athletes. This is especially unfair when athletes are punished when they violate the rules,” NADO leaders said.

NADO leaders reaffirmed their commitment to provide consistent criteria for individual Russian athletes to compete, as neutrals and independent of the Russian Olympic Committee, for those who have been subject to robust anti-doping protocols, consistent with precedent established by the IAAF.

“The IOC needs to stop kicking the can down the road and immediately issue meaningful consequences,” NADO leaders said. “The failure to expeditiously investigate individual Russian athlete doping poses a clear and present danger for clean athletes worldwide and at the 2018 Winter Games. We have serious doubts that the 2018 Games will be clean due to the incomplete investigation of massive evidence of individual doping by Russians athletes at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games and given the inadequate testing evidence of Russian athletes over the past four years.”

NADO leaders support the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)’s requirement that Russia take public responsibility for its fraudulent actions detailed in the McLaren Report, in order to regain eligibility following the 2018 Winter Games, specifically:

  • Acceptance by the Russians of the findings of the McLaren Report, or credible proof to refute it, in line with similar requests from the IAAF and the IPC;
  • A systematic effort to interview Russian athletes, officials and other witnesses exposed by the McLaren Report as having been potentially involved in the doping conspiracy;
  • Access to samples from the Moscow Laboratory, turning over electronic data, including servers, testing instrument data files, computer files, and email and text message archives from the time period of the Russian conspiracy, as outlined in the McLaren Report.

“The IOC and WADA must insist that Russia turn over this key additional evidence.  A full account and justice for clean athletes cannot be achieved without this information,” NADO leaders said. “The failure to properly investigate and prosecute free of sport-political influence those who violated anti-doping rules, breaks the trust with millions of clean athletes around the world.  This dereliction of duty sends a cynical message that those of favored, insider nations within the Olympic Movement will never be punished or held accountable, violating the fundamental covenant of fairness on which sport is based.”

With the potential effects of individual athlete investigations unresolved, the hopes and dreams of clean athletes worldwide hang in the balance. Less than 100 of more than 1000 possible cases of Russian doping have been closed and those appear to have been shut prematurely before the IOC or IFs have obtained complete evidence from the Moscow laboratory or interviewed the relevant witnesses.

“The mishandling of this Russia doping crisis has left the athletes of the world wondering if global anti-doping regulations have teeth and whether their fundamental right to clean sport matters,” the leaders said. “This is exactly why reforms are urgently needed now. The reforms outlined in the Copenhagen Reform Declaration will protect the progress that has been made in anti-doping and ensure a brighter future to prevent this type of scandal from ever happening again.”

The reforms outlined by the leaders support a strong, global regulator in WADA and an international commitment to totally independent anti-doping systems.  The changes put forth are not merely cosmetic but ensure WADA is governed with transparency, independence and free of conflict of interest  between those who promote sport and those who police it.  The NADO leaders steadfastly support the principle of true independence by ensuring that no decision maker from an anti-doping organization be allowed to hold a policy-making position within a sport or event.

During the meeting, NADO leaders also heard from Russian whistleblowers Yuliya and Vitaly Stepanov and Olympian Johann Olav Koss of Fair Sport.  The leaders fully support WADA Athletes Committee Chair, Beckie Scott, and her effort to formalize the Charter of Athlete’s Rights.

“It’s time for action.  Athletes want to see results — not more lip service — that actually support their decision to compete clean,” said NADO leaders.

Those in attendance and supporting the outcomes included anti-doping leaders from around the world, including: Austria, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, United Kingdom and the USA, as well as the Institute of National Anti-Doping Organizations, the international member association of National Anti-Doping Organizations. NADOs have the sole and unequivocal mandate to protect clean athletes, without conflicting responsibilities such as promoting sport.  iNADO’s 69 Members represent all Olympic Regions and conduct the majority of anti-doping work worldwide each year.


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