- WADA report released on Monday revealed huge scale of Russian doping
- Those fighting war on drugs have been betrayed by Russia and the IAAF
- Athletics is lost if any Russians are allowed to compete at 2016 Olympics
- A ban is needed until it is proven that Russian athletes are running clean
- They have already corrupted the London 2012 Olympics with doping
- Lord Coe has finally woken up to the scale of the crisis affecting his sport
- Lamine Diack, the former president of the IAAF who is now under arrest, and government ministers said to be in the know had a great duty of care
- For more on the Russian doping scandal visit www.dailymail.co.uk/russia
Forget, for now, the podium. It doesn’t matter if Russia is victorious in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. It doesn’t matter if their athletes finish first, second or nowhere, whether they get to complete a lap of dubious honour with gold around their necks, or gasp for air at the back of the field.
This time, it truly is about the taking part. If one Russian athlete so much as sets foot on the track at the Olympic Games next summer, the sport is lost.
These are exceptional times, and call for exceptional measures. Those fighting the war on drugs have been betrayed by Russia, the IAAF and the agents of corruption for too long. This isn’t about one rogue runner, or even a group of them, in thrall to a corrupt coach.
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IAAF president Lord Coe has woken up to the reality of the crisis facing athletics after the Russia revelations
Richard Pound, chairman of WADA’s independent commission, said the findings are just the tip of the iceberg
Mariya Savinova won gold for Russia at the London 2012 Olympics and has been caught in a doping storm
THE SHOCKING STATS THAT SHAME ATHLETICS
€1m – Amount Lamine Diack allegedly received in bribes to cover up doping cases.
1,417 – Number of samples — from a range of sports — intentionally destroyed in a Russian laboratory.
82 – Medals won by Russia in the 2012 Olympics, 24 of them gold, which took them to fourth place in the overall table.
11 – Months spent by the three-man WADA panel preparing the 323-page report.
5 – Number of Russian middle-distance runners targeted for lifetime bans, including the gold and bronze medalists in the women’s 800m at London 2012.
43 – Russian athletes currently suspended for anti-doping rule violations — the most of any nation, ahead of India with 34.
The sheer sprawl of Russian doping makes it close to unique in modern sport. Yes, there was suspicion of systematic programmes in the days of the old Soviet bloc. Findings after the fall of the Berlin Wall have made the existence of similar doping regimes in East Germany close to undeniable.
Yet this is a regime that is current, and ongoing, that implicates the sport from top to bottom.
This takes in government bodies, maybe even government ministers, implicates them in the fixing of Olympic events and perhaps an entire Games. It is unprecedented; so what happens next must be unprecedented, too.
Russian athletes must be banned from this Olympic Games, and beyond, until it is proven they are running clean.
As systematically as it has been shown that Russia has cheated, so systematically it must be shown that Russia’s athletics federation has reformed.
And this cannot be done in a matter of months. Russia should be made to serve a 12-month ban, minimum, as punishment for this disgrace.
Only then should steps be taken towards rehabilitation. Having corrupted one Olympics, in 2012, they should not be allowed to sabotage another.
The sheer sprawl of Russian doping makes it close to unique in modern sport ahead of next year’s Olympics
Savinova is joined by fellow Russian Ekaterina Poistogova on the podium at London’s Olympic Stadium
Coe has urged the IAAF to consider sanctions against Russia – and they should now face a ban
Sportsmail’s mocked up ‘gold medal for cheating’
No samples should be inspected, or information collected, from home laboratories until the IAAF and IOC are satisfied that a process of correction is under way. Russia has forfeited the right to self-police, too.
The details of the levels of deception at the ‘Laboratory of the Moscow Committee of Sport for Identification for Prohibited Substances in Athlete Samples’ are so damning that effecting change in domestic athletics must be removed from Russian hands.
Nice that Lord Coe has finally woken up to the scale of the crisis affecting his sport, too. As recently as Sunday he was arguing that the way forward was to work with cheating countries, and not exclude them.
Faced with a deluge of evidence, 24 hours later he finally conceded bans may be the only way forward. ‘I have urged the Council to start the process of considering sanctions against the Russian federation,’ said Coe.
It was a mealy-mouthed position, as ever, and he will still have to be dragged kicking and screaming towards the reality of public disgust, but at least he now admits it may be worth punishing Russia’s cheats, rather than teaming up, to fight issues entirely of their creation.
The Russian federation are not the people to tackle the problem, because they are the problem. Those at the top of Russian sport — including sports minister Vitaly Mutko — were in their standard state of denial on Monday. It was a western conspiracy, organised as ever to destabilise heroic Russian athletes. ‘We don’t deny that we have problems, but they exist around the whole world,’ said Mutko. ‘We have the same percentage as all countries do.’
Really? So other countries have an equivalent of Grigory Rodchenkov, the laboratory director who admitted to WADA that he destroyed 1,417 samples before their investigators were due to visit? Other countries have government spooks influencing the work of the national anti-doping agency? Other countries give athletes advance warning of dope tests, and hide positive results with a bribe culture?
A cover-up on this industrial scale — with test samples destroyed in an atmosphere of non- cooperation — can only be state controlled. So who from this villainous bunch does Coe wish to welcome into his task force? How many officials of principle can be found in Russia right now? Enough to rebuild a clean track and field programme in time for August? That is unlikely.
Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko and those at the top of Russian sport were in a state of denial
Lamine Diack, the former president of the IAAF who is now under arrest, had the greatest duty of care
THE TARNISHED TRACK RECORD FOR RUSSIA…
Russia have been the second-best athletics nation at the Athens, Beijing and London Olympics, winning at least six gold medals at each Games.
And where has working with Russia ever got us? The IAAF as good as sold out to the place in the years we now believe doping was endemic. Russia got the 2013 World Athletics Championships and the 2006 World Indoor Championships, too. Next year, the IAAF World Junior Championships will be held in Kazan. As for the IAAF Race Walking Cup, Cheboksary in Russia hosted in 2008 and will again in 2016 and 2018. In 2010, the IAAF placed it in Saransk in the Volga Basin. And athletics isn’t alone.
The last swimming World Championships went to Kazan, despite 23 positive tests in Russian aquatic sports between the award of the event and its opening.
Four members of the Russian team were confirmed drug cheats. Russia will host football’s next World Cup and had the last Olympic Games, in Sochi in 2014, the results of which are now tainted having passed through the same laboratory that has actively hindered testers.
It is fair to say the world of sport has tried working with Russia in a pursuit of fairness and got nowhere; what hasn’t been tried is exile.
Instead of viewing Russia only as a marketplace, perhaps the wider impact of its behaviour should now be considered. Will the money in the east really compensate for the loss of credibility athletics is suffering? Will the rejection of the sport, the increasing revulsion at its failure to reform, not scar the balance sheet in the coming years?
Diack and Coe are pictured together after the latter succeeded the former at the IAAF congress in August
Memories of the London Olympics are already tarnished by Russia’s 17 athletics medals — eight gold, four silver, five bronze — but this is bigger than any personal slight. Russia’s presence in Rio de Janeiro, the sulphurous narrative surrounding them, risks overshadowing genuine feats and inspiration.
British Athletics clumsily announced its World Class Performance Programme selections for 2015-16 on Monday. Who cared? The news agenda was dominated only by tales of disgrace, of nefarious subterfuge, even blackmail.
How long can the sport withstand this barrage? How long can it survive a scandal that now implicates even those who had the greatest duty of care — government ministers supposedly in the know, Lamine Diack, the former president of the IAAF who is now under arrest. WADA are talking of the most extreme sanction for individual members of this conspiracy: life bans.
Rodchenkov deliberately obstructed investigators and may have corrupted the testing at an entire Olympic Games. Certainly he allowed drug cheats to win medals in London in 2012, and the enormity of his actions have left the entire Russian team under suspicion. If 1,417 samples were destroyed, how can we say with certainty that any Russian athlete competed clean?
Coe and Diack walk around the Olympic Stadium site in London which saw events tarnished by the Russians
Athletics is already a hard sell in Rio next summer. The Brazilians like the sports they are good at and, traditionally, that does not include track and field. Their last gold medallist was women’s long jumper Maurren Maggi in 2008 and, for the men, 800 metre runner Joaquim Cruz at Los Angeles in 1984.
A friend now resident in Brazil recalls being astonished at watching his first Olympics in the country to see the men’s 100 metres – the absolute blue riband event – compressed into a small box in the corner of his television screen, with priority given to a men’s volleyball quarter-final that did not even involve Brazil.
This next Olympics will be the first in which the athletics arena is not the focal point of the Games. The opening and closing ceremonies will take place at the Maracana Stadium, and the hottest tickets are for football, volleyball and beach volleyball — even the boxing and judo have greater cachet.
Add to that members of a wholly tainted Russian team, waving their flag, maybe standing on the podium, and this could be a watershed for the sport; the moment the world decides it is not the winning or the taking part that matters, and simply turns it back, perhaps for good.
Athletics is already a hard sell in Rio next summer, with the focal point a non-athletics arena – the Maracana
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