London 2012 corrupted 'on an unprecedented scale' by Russia says report author

London 2012 corrupted 'on an unprecedented scale' by Russia says report author

Russian athletes corrupted the London 2012 Olympic Games "on an unprecedented scale", a seven-month investigation into the country's state-run doping programme has revealed.

The findings of the investigation, led by Canadian law professor Richard McLaren and conducted for the World Anti-Doping Agency, were published on Friday.

McLaren found evidence that found that over 1,000 Russian athletes in more than 30 Olympic and Paralympic sports were involved in a doping conspiracy which began at least as early as 2011 and ran until 2015.

The 144-page McLaren report "sharpens the picture and confirms the findings" of his explosive interim report published in July, three weeks before the start of the Rio Olympics.

As well as the report, WADA has provided a searchable database of emails, forensic reports, laboratory tests and spreadsheets totalling more than 1,100 items.

Even this, McLaren said at a media conference in London, is "not the complete picture" as his team was denied access to the Moscow anti-doping laboratory's computer server and the hundreds of athletes' samples still in its freezers.

In a damning indictment, McLaren explained how the conspiracy started as a response to a poor showing at the 2010 Winter Olympics, was first used to prepare the team for London 2012, refined in response to new anti-doping methods in 2013 before hitting its stride at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

McLaren said the scheme in operation for London 2012 was based on athletes using a cocktail of steroids mixed with alcohol to limit the detection window, and on the Moscow anti-doping laboratory hiding positive tests by Russian athletes.

London 2012 corrupted 'on an unprecedented scale' by Russia says report author

"The Russian Olympic team corrupted the London Games on an unprecedented scale, the extent of which will probably never be fully established," he said.

"The desire to win medals superseded their collective moral and ethical compass and Olympic values of fair play."

Russia won 24 gold, 26 silver and 32 bronze medals in London, while no Russian athlete failed a drugs test at the time of the Games.

McLaren, however, has now found evidence that positive samples from 78 athletes, including 15 medallists, simply disappeared. Ten of those medal-winners have been caught in the International Olympic Committee's retesting of London samples this year, but five remain unpunished.

It is a similar story for the World Athletics Championships in Moscow, where four athletes had their positive samples swapped for clean ones.

And at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, 12 medal-winning athletes are among those implicated.

Their names, along with the hundreds of others identified by McLaren, have now gone to their respective sports federations for them to start disciplinary proceedings.

The central message from the report is that the sensational claims made in May by the former head of the Moscow anti-doping laboratory Grigory Rodchenkov are true.

His claims seemed like something from a spy novel, with references to secret service agents working out how to open supposedly tamper-proof urine sample bottles and using a hole in the wall of the Sochi laboratory to swap "dirty" samples for clean ones is. But McLaren's investigation has borne out that this was no novel, but reality.

Before McLaren's media conference, his chief investigator Martin Dubbey talked journalists through the forensic methods used to uncover the conspiracy.

The first step was to replicate the method the Russians used to open the bottles, a technique which leaves tiny scratches on the inside of the bottles and their caps. These scratches are visible under a microscope.

The team, however, also analysed the urine in the swapped samples and found that some contained levels of salt that are "physiologically impossible" for a human to produce.

Anti-doping samples are split into A and B bottles and the Russians changed the contents of the crucial B samples, as they are the ones used to verify positive tests and retested by non-Russian laboratories.

Rodchenkov's team in Moscow would add salt to the new B samples so they matched the concentration of the A sample. They would also sometimes add coffee granules so the colours aligned, and even mixed and matched samples from different athletes to get the right look.

Using DNA analysis, McLaren's investigators were able to find samples that contained urine from two different male athletes, different female athletes and even athletes of different sexes.

There were even some bottles that had scratches on the cap, impossible levels of salt and a combination of different athletes' urine.

"The key findings of the first report remain unchanged. The forensic testing, which is based on immutable facts, is conclusive," wrote McLaren in the executive summary of his final report.

"The evidence does not depend on verbal testimony to draw a conclusion. Rather, it tests the physical evidence and a conclusion is drawn from those results."

Having emphatically proven just how rotten Russian sport has been, McLaren will now leave the question of punishment to others.

He did, however, send a clear message to those who criticised his interim report, most notably the International Olympic Committee, saying he was dismayed by the "in-fighting" between sport and the anti-doping world that marked the build-up to Rio Games and has simmered ever since.

"I find it difficult to understand why we're not on the same team. We have shone a light on a dark secret," he said.

"Sport has been hijacked by Russian athletes for years and fans have been deceived - it is time that stops."

London 2012 corrupted 'on an unprecedented scale' by Russia says report author

Following the publication of WADA’s final Independent Person Report today, Chief Executive, John Treacy, and Director of Participation and Ethics, Dr Una May, reiterated Sport Ireland’s support for strong measures to combat state-sponsored doping and subversion of anti-doping.

Mr Treacy said: “The findings of the final instalment of the McLaren Report reinforce Sport Ireland’s position that the strongest possible action should be taken at an international level against Russia. Any action or sanction taken should remain in place until such time as Russia can demonstrate that it has addressed all of the issues identified in the report and that robust systems are in place to ensure that events of the recent past will never happen again.

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