Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

'Institutional conspiracy' in Russia to cover up doping of 1000 athletes

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will re-test all Russian anti-doping samples from the London 2012 Olympics after a damning report pointed to a "unprecedented" national conspiracy to help some 1,000 athletes.

Russian officials stand accused of a "systematic and centralised cover-up" to boost their athletes lasting at least four years between 2011 and 2015 and which "corrupted the London Games on an unprecedented scale".

"The desire to win medals superseded their collective moral and ethical compass and Olympic values of fair play," said the report's author Dr Richard McLaren.

Among the athletes implicated in the scandal were five Russian medalists from London 2012 and a total of 78 of the country's competitors at the Games.

Four medallists from the Sochi Sochi 2014 Olympics are also said to have had their lab test results covered up.

Dr McLaren's report was commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency to investigate allegations of widespread doping across Russia.

In response to its findings, the IOC President Thomas Bach said they would re-test all Russian athletes who competed at the 2012 London Games.

He said that the findings of the report demonstrate "a fundamental attack on the integrity of sport" and anyone found to be involved should be banned from the Olympics for life.

The Russian sports ministry has denied the accusations of state doping.

Vitaly Smirnov, who heads the country's anti-doping commission, also claimed the reforms have been made since the scandal began which have not been accounted for in Dr McLaren's "out of date" report.

Russia has been heavily criticised in both halves of the doping report Credit: ITV News

On Friday, Dr McLaren published the second half of his damning report, the first half of which was published in July.

Announcing his findings in London, he said the process "evolved and was refined" from the British 2012 Games to a more sophisticated system at Sochi two years later.

Among those findings were that stored samples sent to a London laboratory for tests had been opened.

Other samples based in Moscow were found to have "disappeared", while Dr McLaren concluded it was "inconceivable" that Russia's sports minister Vitaly Mutko was unaware of the situation.

National team coaches were found to have bought performance-enhancing drugs for their lead athletes, while anti-doping agencies corrupted doping control officers, he found.

There were growing calls for Russia to be barred from taking part in future Olympics including the Korean PyeongChang Winter Olympics in 2018 unless they can provide convincing evidence they have changed their ways.

Many clean athletes were also reeling from the extend of the corruption uncovered in the report.

Andrew Triggs Hodge, a British rowing triple gold medallist, told ITV News he felt that genuine wins had been "devalued" by the scandal.

"When I take my medal to a school, now it will be forever known it was in a period of the heaviest doping, possibly, that we have had," he said.

In July, Dr McLaren described the doping deception as "beautiful in it's simplicity", but his report was slammed by Russian President Vladimir Putin as political interference.

WADA then recommended Russian athletes be banned from the Rio Olympics - three weeks before they began.

An independent WADA report, published in November 2015, made similar findings about Russian doping.

Subsequently, the International Association of Athletics Federations voted to suspend the Russian athletics federation - a ban which was upheld for the Rio Games.

Limited numbers of Russian athletes were allowed to the Rio Games Credit: Reuters

The International Olympic Committee, however ruled against a blanket ban - instead allowing individual federations to choose whether to permit Russian athletes.

Eventually, Russia took 271 athletes to the Games from an original list of 379.

Russian athletes were then banned entirely from competing at the Paralympic Games.

The IAAF upheld a ban on Russian track and field athletes Credit: Reuters