The Russian track and field team has been banned from the Rio Olympics. The elaborate state sponsored doping scheme began to fall apart when suspicions arose regarding some of the athletes at the Sochi Olympics. Two heads of the testing organization in succession had sudden and unexplained deaths.
More recently a team from WADA sent to Russia to sort out the mess, claims that they were threatened by the Russian Federal Security Service and that many athletes have evaded drug testing with the collusion of their keepers.
Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, director of the anti-doping laboratory testing the Sochi athletes gave an explanation of how the testing procedure for the Sochi Games was corrupted. An elaborate scheme involving secret holes cut through walls and lists sent after midnight of whose samples needed to be ‘cleansed’ was revealed. Dr. Rodchenkov now lives in Los Angeles.
While the IAAF ban disqualified all Russian track and field athletes, there is some hope that the International Olympic Committee(IOC) will review the appeals and records of athletes that can prove that they weren’t cheating.
To bring a more human face to the damage that sports cheaters cause, this week Jared Tallent, Australia, was presented with a gold medal from the London 2012 Games. The athlete who held the gold medal was disqualified because of suspicion of doping.
Russia is not the only country that produces doped athletes. Ethiopia and Kenya are currently under investigation for doping. The money and prestige that individuals gain if they can earn a gold medal from the Olympics is a strong motive to try whatever works. Athletes from at least a dozen countries have been labelled cheaters.
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