Anti-Doping Commission Finds Russia Engaged in State-Sponsored Doping
Commission recommends Russian track-and-field athletes be suspended from 2016 OlympicsBy Matthew Futterman, Sara Germano and Paul Sonne, WSJ
Updated Nov. 9, 2015 12:24 p.m. ET
An independent commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency has found that Russia for years has engaged in state-sponsored doping, recommending Russian track-and-field athletes be suspended from Olympic competition in 2016 and setting up what is likely to be a contentious battle between Russia and international sport officials.
The move to suspend Russia would be among the most drastic taken against a national sports federation. According to a report released Monday, Russia took part in a systemic and state-sponsored doping program for several years, including in the run-up to and during the Sochi winter Olympic Games. The commission’s investigation was focused on track and field, but its findings on the corruption of Russia’s antidoping organization and its Ministry of Sport suggested that other sports were involved.
Russian officials on Monday said they were still reviewing the findings of the report, but said the antidoping commission didn’t have authority to suspend Russian athletes from Olympic competition. Other Russian officials immediately tried to cast the commission’s report as part of a political vendetta by the West against Russia.
Sebastian Coe, president of track and field’s global governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations, said the findings of the commission’s report are alarming, and that he has asked the sport’s leadership council to immediately begin considering sanctions against the Russian track and field federation.
A spokesman for the International Olympic Committee called the report “deeply shocking.” In a statement, the IOC said the IAAF should do “whatever it takes to protect the clean athletes and rebuild trust in our sport,” leaving the door open for the suspension of Russia’s athletics team.