Photographer: Getty Images

They Were Doping for Ping-Pong?

New report could put Russia’s status at the Rio Olympics in jeopardy.

Russian track-and-field athletes had already been banned from this summer’s Olympics for using performance-enhancing drugs. On Monday, the World Anti-Doping Agency released a report on the alleged state-run doping scheme at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. No surprise, perhaps.

But curling? Beach volleyball?


The Independent McLaren Investigation report, published by WADA, puts a New York Times May article on Olympic doping in the larger context of a program that ran from late 2011 until August 2015. Beyond the tampering with clean urine samples, hundreds of positive results were reported as negative across all sports, at the direction of Russia's Ministry of Sport, according to the report: 1 "Athletics" refers to the country’s track and field athletes.

Source: WADA Report

(The note in the chart title breaks the results down by number of instances 2 Athletics 139, Weightlifting 117, Non-Olympic Sports 37, Paralympic Sport 35, Wrestling 28, Canoe 27, Cycling 26, Skating 24, Swimming 18, Ice Hockey 14, Skiing 13, Football and Rowing, each 11, Biathlon 10, Bobsleigh, Judo, and Volleyball, each 8, Boxing and Handball, each 7, Taekwondo 6, Fencing and Triathlon, each 4, Modern Pentathlon and Shooting, each 3, Beach Volleyball and Curling, each 2, Basketball, Sailing, Snowboard, Table Tennis and Water Polo, each 1. . )

When the Ministry of Sport couldn't make the positive results for performance-enhancing drugs disappear at major events like the Sochi Olympics, it would direct anti-doping personnel to replace dirty urine samples with clean ones collected months in advance, according to the report. With the help of the FSB, Russia’s version of the Soviet KGB, dirty samples would be exchanged with clean ones through a hole in the wall to protect several of the country’s Olympic medal winners. Russia won the most medals of any country at Sochi.

The Kremlin has denied the existence of a doping program.

Following the report’s release, the International Olympic Committee said in a statement that it would discuss sanctions against Russia for the coming Olympics in Rio de Janeiro on a conference call tomorrow. 

“The findings of the report show a shocking and unprecedented attack on the integrity of sport and on the Olympic Games," the statement said. "Therefore, the IOC will not hesitate to take the toughest sanctions available against any individual or organisation implicated.”

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