The dop­ing scan­dal

Rotorua Daily Post - - OUR PEOPLE - Source: BBC

De­cem­ber 2014: As many as 99 per cent of Rus­sian ath­letes guilty of dop­ing, Ger­man TV doc­u­men­tary al­leges.

Novem­ber 2015: Wada­com­mis­sioned re­port al­leges widespread cor­rup­tion in Rus­sian track and field. Its anti-dop­ing agency, Ru­sada, is de­clared non-com­pli­ant.

May 2016: Whistle­blower Grig­ory Rod­chenkov says dozens of Rus­sian ath­letes cheated at the 2014 Win­ter Olympics in Sochi.

July 2016: Rus­sia op­er­ated four-year state-spon­sored dop­ing pro­gramme across "vast ma­jor­ity" of sum­mer and win­ter Olympic sports, says Pro­fes­sor Richard McLaren.

Au­gust 2016: In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee de­cides against blan­ket ban on Rus­sians at Rio Olympics. In­di­vid­ual sport­ing fed­er­a­tions rule in­stead, with 271 Rus­sians com­pet­ing.

De­cem­ber 2016: Wada pub­lishes sec­ond part of McLaren re­port, which says more than 1000 Rus­sian ath­letes ben­e­fited from dop­ing.

Jan­uary 2017: Rus­sian sport au­thor­i­ties given list of cri­te­ria to achieve be­fore Ru­sada can win back recog­ni­tion.

Fe­bru­ary 2018: Rus­sia banned from 2018 Win­ter Olympics, but 169 ath­letes who prove they are clean al­lowed to com­pete un­der neu­tral flag.

May 2018: Wada writes to Ru­sada of­fer­ing "com­pro­mise".

Septem­ber 2018: Wada ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee votes 9-2 to re­in­state Ru­sada. -25C at night.

Ruapehu barely gets be­low freez­ing. Un­cle Bruce per­se­vered and a track of sorts emerged — “a bumpy, lumpy thing, hi­lar­i­ously home­made but also amaz­ing be­cause he did it” — and TV turned up to film the world cham­pion make a run.

“He’s say­ing how ev­ery­one should come and ex­pe­ri­ence skele­ton and how it’s safe and it’s fan­tas­tic but all the while he’s grab­bing his arm [and] as soon as they stop film­ing he’s off to the medic cen­tre.

“An ici­cle had pierced an artery. If you look care­fully you can see blood squirt­ing out be­tween his fin­gers.”

SAND­FORD, WHO is a spe­cial­ist in sports law, misses the ac­tual slid­ing more than the com­pe­ti­tion. He put up his hand in pol­i­tics for the same rea­son he be­came an ath­letes’ rep­re­sen­ta­tive: fair­ness.

He’s lived in a lot of coun­tries, some were “in­cred­i­bly un­fair and un­equal”, and some he thought were on the right track and pur­su­ing poli­cies based on ev­i­dence.

New Zealand, he thought, was head­ing the wrong way.

“I could see the poli­cies we were fol­low­ing and where we were go­ing and I didn’t want to live in a coun­try that took that route.” A more self­ish coun­try? “We were be­com­ing a more di­vided coun­try, a coun­try no longer look­ing af­ter the pil­lars that made us what we are, around hous­ing, ed­u­ca­tion, health­care, mak­ing sure we give peo­ple a fair chance, mak­ing sure peo­ple have op­por­tu­nity.”

Peo­ple of­ten com­pli­ment him, he says, for suc­ceed­ing in an in­di­vid­ual sport prac­tised on the other side of the world. But, he says, he came from priv­i­lege: sup­port­ive fam­ily and friends and an un­cle who had blazed the way.

“I’ve been able to get by only through the gen­eros­ity of peo­ple around me, and I’ve been lucky too.”

Claims that Wada was tar­geted by Rus­sian gov­ern­ment hack­ers will ap­pal but not sur­prise him. Nor will of­fi­cial de­nials. “This en­tire [dop­ing] sys­tem has been found out but the Rus­sian au­thor­i­ties have still de­nied that it ex­isted.”

Has Wada been hi­jacked by busi­ness in­ter­ests? Cer­tain peo­ple in the Olympic move­ment, says Sand­ford, have been push­ing to have Ru­sada back for a long time.

“Those peo­ple have got their way. That’s re­ally un­for­tu­nate. I think it is enor­mously dam­ag­ing to the cred­i­bil­ity of Wada and what it stands for, or what Wada should be stand­ing for.” But it’s not a “death blow”. “You need an or­gan­i­sa­tion like Wada to reg­u­late anti-dop­ing on an in­ter­na­tional level.

“If peo­ple are sug­gest­ing get­ting rid of Wada, you are go­ing to have to recre­ate it in a sim­i­lar fash­ion.”

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