US opens criminal probe into doping by Russians
IOC to give new doping revelations in one week
LAUSANNE — IOC President Thomas Bach said Wednesday that athletes and federations face tough sanctions up to a lifetime ban as he warned that doping has hit “an unprecedented level of criminality.”
The International Olympic Committee leader also stepped up calls on Russia to clear up accusations of interference in testing at its doping laboratory during the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.
In a new sign of pressure on Russian sport, the New York Times said US prosecutors have started an investigation into doping by Russian athletes.
With 31 athletes from 12 countries already facing a ban from the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in August after new tests on samples from the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Bach warned of new punishment if accusations against Russia were proved.
The allegations against the Sochi laboratory are “very detailed and therefore very worrying,” Bach said in a commentary published in newspapers around the world.
“Should the investigation prove the allegations true it would represent a shocking new dimension in doping with an … unprecedented level of criminality,” added Bach.
He said sanctions “could range from life-long Olympic bans for any implicated person, to tough financial sanctions, to acceptance of suspension or exclusion of entire national federations like the already existing one for the Russian athletics federation.”
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) suspended Russia in November after the World Anti-Doping Agency said there was a “state-sponsored” doping campaign in Russian athletics.
Bach warned that a WADA inquiry into Russia’s actions in Sochi in 2014 could “greatly influence” whether its athletes are allowed to return for Rio.
“Should there be evidence of an organized system contaminating other sports, the international federations and the IOC would have to make the difficult decision between collective responsibility and individual justice.”
Bach even said sporting authorities would have to consider whether the ‘innocent until guilty’ maxim should still be applied to the “contaminated” federations.
With doping scandals mounting, the IOC announced Tuesday that 31 athletes from the 2008 Beijing Olympics had failed tests after their samples were reexamined.
Some 454 Beijing tests were re-examined and the results from 250 samples retested from the 2012 London Games will be announced in a week, IOC officials said.
The IOC will announce in one week how many new doping failures from the 2012 London Olympics have been found in retesting of samples, officials said Wednesday.
The international body has said the provisional results from tests on 250 London samples will be known in about one week.
Bach said in a separate briefing that the new testing had uncovered athletes “who participated in Beijing and in London and may have qualified for Rio.”
The IOC executive board has demanded that WADA start “a fully fledged investigation” into allegations that Russia’s secret services and sports ministry subverted testing at the laboratory for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
This has been alleged by a former head of the Russian anti-doping agency now in hiding in the United States.
The IOC has instructed its lab in Lausanne to re-examine samples from Sochi “using the most modern and efficient methods at its disposal.”
The Sochi samples are stored for 10 years in the facility in Lausanne.
The IAAF is to take a decision on June 17 on whether to let the All-Russian Athletics Federation back into the global body.