Russia has three weeks to explain how positive drug test results were deleted from data sent to the World Anti-Doping Agency, which is still investigating Russia’s intricate years-long doping scheme that involving passing urine samples through a secret hole in a laboratory wall and got the country sort-of-but-not-really banned from the 2018 Olympics. According to WADA, the data submitted by Russia doesn’t match up with the data released by a whistleblower.
Russia’s previous state-run cheating plot was also brought to light in 2015 thanks to a whistleblower, and as a result the country’s anti-doping agency was suspended. However, last year—despite the fact that the Russian government refused to accept responsibility for the conspiracy and would not provide WADA with data from their athlete testing database—WADA reinstated Russia. The decision led one WADA official to resign and WADA’s own vice president to declare that it had “failed the clean athletes of the world.”
WADA ended Russia’s ban on the condition that Russia furnish anti-doping regulators with its database of athlete testing records. And now there is credible reason to believe that Russia has tampered with the very evidence that they agreed to turn over in exchange for being reinstated. The villainy is cartoonish! From the AP:
WADA heard about the possible tampering at its executive committee meeting Monday in Tokyo. Turning over the data was a key requirement for the reinstatement of Russia’s anti-doping agency, and WADA has formally opened a compliance procedure that could lead to a new ban if the data was manipulated.
The computer files were critical to prosecuting cases against athletes alleged to have cheated at the 2014 Olympics and other major events.
“The situation is very serious,” Russian Olympic Committee president Stanislav Pozdnyakov said in a statement.
If found to have tampered with the data, Russia could be banned from the Tokyo Olympics next year. If the past is any indication, though, the corrupt or wet-behind-the-ears people running the show over at WADA will buy whatever excuse Russia cooks up in the next three weeks.