Rivals continue to lobby for Russia ban
WASHINGTON, D.C. A day after the World Anti-Doping Agency dismissed 95 cases of suspected Russian doping citing lack of evidence, 16 national anti-doping organizations, including the United States Anti-Doping Agency, demanded Russia still be banned from next year’s Winter Olympics in Pyeong Chang, South Korea.
“A country’s sport leaders and organizations should not be given credentials to the Olympics when they intentionally violate the rules and rob clean athletes. This is especially unfair when athletes are punished when they violate the rules,” the 16 organizations, collectively called the National AntiDoping Organization, said Thursday in a statement following two days of meetings in Colorado.
“The IOC needs to stop kicking the can down the road and immediately issue meaningful consequences. The failure to expeditiously investigate individual Russian athlete doping poses a clear and present danger for clean athletes worldwide and at the 2018 Winter Games. ”
NADO, which consists of antidoping leaders from the United States, Austria, Australia, Britain, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore and Sweden, said it supported allowing some Russian athletes to compete under a neutral flag if they could be properly cleared.
But the organization underlined Russia as a whole should remain banned until the findings of the McLaren report could be thoroughly investigated by WADA. NADO leaders also said Russia shouldn’t be cleared to participate unless the country either proved it could refute or took full responsibility for the report’s findings, which allege Russia ran a state-sponsored doping program for years.
In March, Russian President Vladimir Putin continued to deny the allegations, stating on national television (via NBC News), “We never had, don’t have and I hope won’t have a state-sponsored doping program.”