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Statement from USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart on the WADA Executive Committee’s Decision on Russia

USADA logo“To allow Russia to escape a complete ban is yet another devastating blow to clean athletes, the integrity of sport and the rule of law. And, in turn, the reaction by all those who value sport should be nothing short of a revolt against this broken system to force reform.

WADA promised the world back in 2018 that if Russia failed yet again to live up to its agreements, it would use the toughest sanction under the rules. Yet, here we go again; WADA says one thing and does something entirely different. There is no disputing that Russia has committed the most intentional, deep and broad level of corruption on the entire sports world that has put money over morals, abuse over health and corruption over the Olympic values and all athlete’s dreams. Now clean athletes, sports fans and sponsors are having to suffer through another horrendous Groundhog Day of Russian corruption and domination.

Clean athletes’ rights continue to hang in the balance as it appears obvious from the IOC position that despite saying they follow WADA rules, they appear following their closed door meetings in advance of today’s meetings to have orchestrated a path for this decision to be appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, thereby setting up CAS as the failsafe to implement even weaker, if any, consequences against these thugs who have been given repeated chances to do the right thing. The world has to wonder which is worse, the original Russian fraud and robbery of medals and the rights of clean athletes or the extent to which the leaders of sport have bowed to the Russian money and influence in failing to adequately deal with this sullen affair years ago.

Of course, one can hope that CAS will have the independence and courage to serve justice and actually right these wrongs and the failures of sport leaders by actually putting in place a proportional and meaningful consequence that fits the crimes. Let’s hope CAS does the right thing and does not likewise bow to the Russian pressure that has so clearly infiltrated the decision making of the IOC and WADA to the detriment of athlete’s rights in and out of Russia, and to the public, sponsors and all of those who believe in Olympic values.”

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