Rodchenkov on ARD: Putin must have known of doping schemes

Frankfurt - Russia's President Vladimir Putin must have been aware of doping schemes in the nation's sport which were also already in place for the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, German ARD television quotes whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov as saying.


"Of course it came right from the top, from the president. Because only the president can appoint the domestic secret service FSB for such a specific task," the former head of Moscow's anti-doping laboratory said in the ARD documentary "Secret matter Doping - the Olympic conspiracy" to be aired later Monday.
Rodchenkov, who now lives at a secret location in the United States, told the New York Times last year that the FSB organized schemes including sample swapping at the Sochi 2014 Games to cover up doping practices of athletes from the Russian home team.
He also confirmed the content of secret documents which according to ARD say that state-organized doping practices existed for the 2008 Games in Beijing and London 2012.  
"It was very easy ahead of Beijing. You could do whatever you wanted - and all Russian athletes of the national team were doped. We changed the strategy between Beijing 2008 and London 2012, how to cover up doping. We controlled everything," Rodchenkov said.
The International Olympic Committee has conducted retests of Olympic samples from 2008 and 2012 which saw 37 Russian athletes caught, including 20 medallists.
Russia escaped a blanket ban over the doping affair for the 2016 Olympics in Rio but its 169 nominated athletes for the Winter Games in Pyeongchang starting next week must compete as neutrals.
Others have been not invited and 43 Russians, among them 10 medallists, have been banned for life from the Games by the International Olympic Committee - with rulings on appeals from 39 of them to come this week from the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Russia has dismissed the allegations of state sponsored doping and in September a Russian court issued an arrest warrant for Rodchenkov who headed the Moscow lab 2006-2015 and is now in the FBI's witness protection programme.
The second part of the documentary, also to be broadcast on Monday, was to reveal that new bottles for drug test sample collecting and storing could be manipulated.
The World Anti-Doping Agency said in a statement early Monday it was alerted by the Cologne anti-doping lab on January 19 that the bottles "may potentially be susceptible to manual opening upon freezing of a sample."
WADA said it has been unable to replicate the issue but acknowledged "that this situation, if confirmed, will raise concerns and questions."
The bottles were redesigned in the wake of the Sochi schemes to prevent future manipulation.

Monday, January 29th 2018
By Andreas Schirmer

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