Russia Doping Ban Is Halved but It Will Miss Next Two Olympics

Russia Doping Ban Is Halved but It Will Miss Next Two Olympics

Russia Doping Ban Is Halved but It Will Miss Next Two Olympics

Russia Doping Ban Is Halved but It Will Miss Next Two Olympics

Russia, a serial bidder for major sporting events, also will be prohibited from hosting world championship-level events for the duration of its ban. The punishment had put in doubt plans for hockey’s 2023 world championship, which is scheduled to be hosted by Russia in St. Petersburg. But those now fall outside the scope of the ban.

Russian athletes will be allowed to participate in events as neutrals provided WADA does not prove any link to the doping scheme that, at its peak, involved agents from Russian’s state security apparatus replacing tainted doping test samples with clean ones during middle-of-the-night operations at the 2014 Winter Olympics. Russia hosted those Games at Sochi, a coastal resort rebuilt at great expense to project the country’s sporting and economic power.

The scheme, which had started years earlier, only came to light after one of its chief architects, Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of a Moscow doping laboratory at the heart of the scandal, revealed what had taken place.

Rodchenkov, now living in an undisclosed location in the United States, revealed how hundreds of tainted antidoping results were manipulated before being entered into official records, protecting athletes from identification and allowing them to benefit from chemically enhanced advantages before heading away to major championship events.

Antidoping investigators recommended a four-year ban after finding that Russian officials had fabricated evidence and manipulated the contents of a drug-testing database in an effort to discredit Rodchenkov and further disguise its conduct. WADA’s board, in a meeting last December, agreed with the recommendation and imposed the four-year ban.

On Thursday, Rodchenkov’s lawyer, Jim Walden, blasted the CAS decision to cut it in half.

“The decision by CAS to effectively ‘split the baby’ is nonsensical and undeserved,” he said. “Despite overwhelming proof of corruption, doping fraud and obstruction of justice, including a brazen attempt to falsely incriminate Dr. Rodchenkov through fabricated evidence, CAS has once again proven itself unwilling and unable to meaningfully deal with systematic and longstanding criminality by Russia.”

Jonathan Taylor, who led the committee overseeing the Russia investigation and recommended the longer ban, said in an interview that he had mixed feelings about the outcome of the appeal. While the panel accepted WADA’s “overwhelming evidence of tampering” and confirmed that its new sanctioning powers were fit enough to stand scrutiny, he said, he questioned the logic in reducing the penalty.


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