Distrust, anger grip Russian sports ahead of key doping
ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA » As it edges closer to a ban from the Winter Olympics, the Russian sports world is a bitter place.
Investigations into doping haven’t encouraged Russian athletes to speak out about abuses. Instead, there is a public hunt for whistleblowers, or “traitors to the motherland,” as cross-country ski federation president Yelena Valbe calls them.
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed the International Olympic Committee — which will make the final ruling on Russia’s eligibility — is being manipulated by shadowy U.S. interests intent on using doping scandals to disgrace his government ahead of elections in March.
Ahead of that IOC ruling, Russian officials face two days of World Anti-Doping Agency meetings this week which will help determine Russia’s Olympic future.
Formally, the issue on the table is the status of Russia’s drug-testing agency, not Olympic participation.