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Russia faces ban from international athletics for widespread doping offenses

Russia could be facing a ban from international athletic competitions, including the 2016 Summer Olympics, after an alarming discovery by an anti-doping commission. In a report released on Monday, the commission makes accusations of corruption, including state-sponsored doping, leading to Russia becoming a sports superpower.

The World Anti-Doping Agency-sponsored commission discovered a “deeply rooted culture of cheating” in Russia, one that the state was more than willing to support. The report also found what they termed a systematic failure on the part of the world governing agency, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

One of the more notable examples of corruption the report notes occurred when 1,417 samples at a World Anti-Doping Agency-accredited anti-doping laboratory in Moscow were destroyed just before a WADA audit team arrived.

Russia’s Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko claims that there is no evidence behind accusations against the Russian Athletics Federation. He also stated that the samples that were destroyed were done so at the request of the WADA.

The revelation came just days after former IAAF president Lamine Diack was accused of hiding a Russian athlete’s doping violations. Diack’s successor, Sebastian Coe was alarmed by the scale of the revelation. He has given Russia until the end of the week to respond to the accusations before the IAAF council would discuss possible sanctions.

The report further revealed that the 2012 London Olympic Games had been effectively “sabotaged” by widespread inaction of sport’s governing bodies and national anti-doping authorities.

Dick Pound, head of the commission that released the report and former WADA president, believes that this revelation can be devastating for sports in general, leading the general public to believe that all sports are corrupt.

“For 2016, our recommendation is that the Russian Federation be suspended,” Pound said. “In fact, one of our hopes is that they will volunteer that, so that they can take the remedial work in time to make sure that Russian athletes can compete under a new framework.”

In the 2012 Olympics Russia finished second behind the United States, winning 17 medals including 8 gold.
While many have been comparing this latest scandal to FIFA’s recent scandal, some believe this is far worse. What happened in FIFA did not appear to affect the actual gameplay on the pitch. However, in this case athletes worldwide were affected by the scandal.
Only the IAAF can decide whether or not to suspend Russia from international competitions.
Acting president of the Russian Athletics Federation, Vadim Zelichenok, said, “It is only a recommendation … But I cannot say if the IAAF will follow this.”
Pound hopes that this will serve as a wake up call for Russia to correct their system, change their ways and go through the proper procedures to become eligible to compete in the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
Last week former IAAF president Lamine Diack was under investigation for allegedly accepting over 1 million euros to cover up Russian athletes’ positive doping results. IAAF’s Ethics Commission accused Diack, along with two Russian athletics officials and a former director of the IAAF’s Anti-Doping Department, of hiding the doping results for Liliya Shobukhova.

About Jillian Gordon

Jillian Gordon
Jillian is a writer from Edmonton, Canada. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from the University of Alberta and loves all sorts of cultural phenomena. In addition to writing, Jillian's hobbies include photography and playing roller derby.