Russia faced explosive allegations of corruption and systematic doping on Wednesday, including the reported admission of drug use by an Olympic champion runner, and cover-up and extortion involving a three-time Chicago Marathon winner.
Both German television channel ARD and French sports daily L’Equipe reported that Liliya Shobukhova, who won the Chicago Marathon from 2009 to 2011 and the London race in 2010, paid the Russian athletics federation 450,000 euros (US$550,000) to cover up a positive doping case.
ARD also appeared to show reigning Olympic 800m champion Maria Savinova admitting to using the banned steroid oxandrolone in an undercover video that has the woman’s face out of focus.
The video was dubbed into German with the original audio track absent, but ARD said it possessed an unedited version.
The IAAF, the governing body of athletics, said there was “already an on-going investigation by the IAAF Ethics Commission” into Shobukhova’s allegations.
The ARD report also linked doping to Russian officials and athletes in other sports, including swimming, cycling, biathlon, weightlifting and cross-country skiing.
The Russian athletics federation and national anti-doping agency declined to comment.
The reports also include accusations from former Russian Anti-Doping Agency official Vitaly Stepanov and his wife, Yulia, who previously competed as an 800m runner and was banned for doping.
Stepanov told ARD that various Russian sports federations “would come to [Russian] doping control officers” offering “extra cash” to hush up positive tests.
He also accused the head of the national doping test laboratory, Grigory Rodchenkov, of falsifying tests and selling banned substances.
Yulia Stepanova accused coaches of providing her with banned substances.
“These are serious allegations. I understand an investigation is already under way by the IAAF ethics commission and we await the full findings,” International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams told reporters. “Should there be anything affecting the International Olympic Committee and our code of ethics, we will not hesitate take any and all action necessary.”
Yulia Stepanova also accused the head of the Russian federation’s medical department, Sergei Portugalov, of supplying doping products in exchange for 5 percent of an athlete’s earnings, plus bonuses for competition wins. She also said Russian athletes had avoided out-of-competition testing by using false names during foreign training camps.
The main organizations involved — the Russian athletics federation, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) and the national doping test laboratory — are all funded and overseen by the Russian government.
“Of course it’s shocking,” World Anti-Doping Agency director general David Howman told ARD. “We’ve got to make sure ... that those who are suffering from fear are protected.”
In a statement after ARD’s documentary was broadcast in Germany, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said it “will ensure that all matters raised are fully investigated.”
WADA had already passed “evidence of the type exposed in the documentary” to the IAAF ethics panel’s probe. The global anti-doping watchdog’s powers allow it to declare RUSADA non-compliant and withdraw the Moscow lab’s accreditation to work in sports.
WADA said it “will take any necessary and appropriate steps” against Russian authorities.
Shobukhova said she and her husband paid 450,000 euros to Russian federation officials after being threatened that she “could have problems” with doping and miss the 2012 London Olympics. She did run in London, but failed to finish.
When Shobukhova was banned this year, her husband received a 300,000 euro refund, ARD reported, adding it had linked the transfer to federation president Valentin Balakhnichev, who is the IAAF treasurer.
“Somebody’s got to come up with an answer,” former WADA president Dick Pound said. “If something of this nature is being organized in any country, it’s a very serious problem for the credibility of international sport and the credibility of anti-doping efforts.”
Shobukhova’s time of 2 hours, 18 minutes, 20 seconds in Chicago in 2011 made her the second-fastest women’s marathon runner behind Paula Radcliffe of Britain.
In April, she was banned for two years for suspicious blood values in samples given for her biological passport. She was then stripped of her Chicago wins and ordered to repay her prize money.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport said on Wednesday that the IAAF had appealed the two-year ban, which expires next month, seeking a four-year sanction.
DECREASED TENSION: The US players’ lawyers said that the soccer federation no longer disputes that the jobs of the women’s and men’s national teams require equal skill Women players suing the US Soccer Federation (USSF) said in in court documents filed on Tuesday that the federation has acknowledged that the jobs of male and female soccer players require equal skill. The language seemed to signal a decrease in tension between the parties after language in documents filed by the federation’s lawyers earlier last month provoked widespread outrage in saying that playing on the men’s national team required a higher level of skill based on speed and strength and carried greater responsibility. The fierce backlash — not only from the women players, but also from sponsors such as Coca-Cola —
A businessman who received millions of dollars for his work on Tokyo’s successful campaign to host the 2020 Olympic Games has said that he played a key role in securing the support of a former Olympics powerbroker suspected by French prosecutors of taking bribes to help Japan’s bid. Haruyuki Takahashi, a former executive at the advertising agency Dentsu, was paid US$8.2 million by the committee that spearheaded Tokyo’s bid for the 2020 Games, financial records showed. Takahashi said the work included lobbying International Olympic Committee (IOC) members such as Lamine Diack, the ex-Olympics powerbroker, and that he gave Diack gifts, including digital
If British industry succeeds in saving lives during the COVID-19 pandemic, it would in part be thanks to the pioneering role played by Formula One (F1) racing teams in the country. Seven of F1’s 10 teams have joined forces with leading aerospace and engineering firms to ramp up production of ventilators, while Mercedes has also worked with medics and academics to produce an alternative breathing aid. Normally obsessed with improving the performance of cars that race at more than 320kph, the teams are stripping back lifesaving devices and using computer simulation to test whether more simplified models can be mass produced. The seven
BITING THE BULLET: Barcelona’s Lionel Messi said that top players would make contributions so that the club’s employees can collect 100 percent of their salary Three-quarters of Rugby Australia’s staff were temporarily laid off yesterday amid huge financial losses from the sport’s coronavirus-enforced shutdown, while Lionel Messi confirmed on Monday that Barcelona’s players would take a 70 percent pay cut to ensure that the club’s other employees are paid. The cuts to rugby staff were “the toughest decision in the game’s history,” governing body CEO Raelene Castle said. “Although extremely painful, they are necessary to ensure ... we are able to come out the other side of this global crisis, fully operational and ready to throw everything into the rebuild.” The sport has been hit hard by