An­swers on Rus­sia still far away as anti-dop­ing agency meets

Cape Breton Post - - Sports - BY ED­DIE PELLS

The lurid de­tails — dark-of-night swap­ping of tainted urine sam­ples with clean ones through a hole cut into the wall — have been con­firmed by an in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tor who de­liv­ered a 144-page re­port with the proof.

The re­ac­tion of pol­i­cy­mak­ers to the un­prece­dented level of anti-dop­ing cor­rup­tion in Olympic sports has been nowhere near as head­line-grab­bing.

On Thurs­day, a bit over a year af­ter The New York Times re­vealed the sor­did specifics of a dop­ing scan­dal that per­vaded Rus­sia’s Olympic team, the World Anti-Dop­ing Agency’s gov­ern­ing board meets. The board won’t so much en­act dras­tic mea­sures for Rus­sia or for WADA’s own flawed set of de­ter­rents as it will try to gain frac­tions along a miles-long road of needed re­forms.

The most press­ing mat­ter: With nine months un­til the Win­ter Olympics, there are few signs of what, if any, price the Rus­sian Olympic team will pay for the cor­rup­tion that has been un­masked in that coun­try.

In­ves­ti­ga­tor Richard McLaren’s re­port, re­leased last De­cem­ber, found that more than 1,000 Rus­sian ath­letes com­pet­ing in sum­mer, win­ter and Par­a­lympic sports could have been in­volved or ben­e­fited from ma­nip­u­la­tions to con­ceal pos­i­tive dop­ing tests.

“There’s worry we’ll find our­selves, if we’re not al­ready there, in the very same po­si­tion as we were in Rio,” said Paul Melia, CEO of Canada’s anti-dop­ing agency.

At last year’s Sum­mer Games, the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee re­fused to ban the Rus­sians as a whole, in­stead giv­ing lead­ers in the in­di­vid­ual sports mere days to sort out who should be el­i­gi­ble to com­pete in Rio de Janeiro. All but one mem­ber of Rus­sia’s track team was barred, the re­sult of a de­ci­sion by that sport’s gov­ern­ing body (IAAF) that came af­ter an in­ves­ti­ga­tion — sep­a­rate from McLaren’s — into dop­ing cor­rup­tion in ath­let­ics. Most Rus­sians in other sports were al­lowed to com­pete.

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