IOC: Evidence found in Sochi drugs probe to charge athletes
A first batch of athletes suspected of having been part of a Russian doping ring at the Sochi 2014 Winter Games may soon be charged by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the head of the investigation said on Friday.
IOC member Denis Oswald said evidence gathered so far will be combined with results of tests to determine whether urine and blood sample bottles had been tampered with, to replace positive samples with clean samples, Reuter reported.
“We feel we have found a number of elements to charge a certain number of athletes,” Oswald told IOC members at the body’s session meeting in Lima.
“In a few days we will have the results of the first batch of 50 bottles (determining whether or not they had been tampered with) and then we can proceed.”
Swiss Oswald, who did not say how many athletes could be involved, said the first hearings would start in October. He added that his commission could only ban athletes from the Olympics and not impose other sanctions.
“We can only disqualify athletes. We have been working closely with winter sports federations and they will be ready as soon as we have made our decision to go on with their own procedure.”
Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of Moscow’s discredited anti-doping laboratory, identified in a 2015 World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) report as an ‘aider and abettor of the doping activities’, revealed a scheme for covering up Russian competitors’ positive drug samples at the 2014 Winter Olympics. This triggered a number of investigations, including Oswald’s on behalf of the IOC, to determine whether Russia had manipulated their athletes’ samples at those Olympics three years ago.
The participation of Russian athletes at next February’s Pyeongchang Winter Olympics depends on the results of the Oswald report, which he said would be completed before the end of the year.
“The WADA board meeting in Seoul in November could recommend that RUSADA becomes compliant,” he said, criticizing a group of the world’s leading national antidoping organizations (NADOS) who this week called for Russia to be excluded from Pyeongchang.