A brief history of the Russian doping scandal
December, 2014: The German television network ARD airs a documentary that alleges widespread Russian doping. Russian athletes are the key whistleblowers and Grigory Rodchenkov, at the time the top anti-doping scientist in the country, is caught on camera discussing the scheme. He is unaware he is being recorded. WADA launches a commission to investigate the claims, headed by Canadian Richard Pound.
November, 2015: The commission’s first report says it “confirmed the existence of widespread cheating through the use of doping substances” in Russian sport. Rodchenkov resigns as director of the Moscow anti-doping lab. He leaves for the United States within days of the resignation.
February, 2016: Nikita Kamaev, former head of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency, dies at 52 after sudden heart failure.
May, 2016: Having been approached in California by FBI investigators and ordered to appear before a grand jury, Rodchenkov tells his story to the New York Times and provides reporters with hundreds of pages of documentary evidence. Russia denies everything and says he is a liar with a shady past. WADA appoints Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren to lead a new investigation with a short deadline: less than two months, to allow time to make a decision on Russia before Rio 2016.
July, 2016: McLaren’s first report says it has confirmed “beyond a reasonable doubt” the existence of a state-sponsored doping scheme. WADA calls for the IOC to ban the Russian team entirely from Rio. The IOC instead allows individual athletic federations to decide on bans. The international track and field body is one of the few to implement a total ban on Russia.
August, 2016: Russia fields a team of 291 athletes in Rio, winning 56 medals, fourth among all nations.
September, 2016: Russia does not compete in the Paralympic Games, as the IPC issued a total ban. Russia did not contest the ruling.
October, 2016: Vitaly Mutko, the minister of Sport in Russia and the person Rodchenkov cites as overseeing the doping program, is promoted to deputy prime minister.
December, 2016: McLaren’s second report builds on the first, and says 695 Russian athletes were part of the “manipulations to conceal potentially positive doping control tests.” It says there is incontrovertible evidence of dozens of urine samples having been altered, including from 15 Russians who won medals at Sochi 2014.
September, 2017: Alexander Zhukov, Russian member of the IOC, says at a Peru meeting that “all of them are going to PyeongChang” when asked about his country’s team.