In late 2015, a World Anti-Doping Agency panel accused the Russian government of being involved with "widespread doping and cover-ups" involving its Olympic track and field athletes and recommended that the International Olympic Committee strongly consider banning Russia from the 2016 Rio Olympics until the country was found to be in compliance with the global anti-doping code. The IOC later decided not to ban Russia from the Olympics, but it appears as thought the WADA continued to dig deeper into the Russian doping allegations. And according to a new WADA report released on Friday, the organization believes it has uncovered a mountain of evidence that definitively proves that more than 1,000 Russian athletes across about 30 sports were involved in an "institutional conspiracy" involving doping.
Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren headed up the investigation into Russian doping and announced the results of it in London on Friday morning. He revealed that more than 1,000 Russian athletes and Paralympians who have taken part in both summer and winter Olympics sports have been identified as "being involved in or benefiting from manipulation to conceal positive doping tests." In his report, McLaren accused Russia of creating a system designed to cover up positive drug tests.
"The results of the forensic and laboratory analysis initiated by my team established the conspiracy that perpetrated between 2011 and 2015," McLaren said. "It is impossible to know how deep and how far back a conspiracy goes. For years, international sports competitions have unknowingly been hijacked by the Russians. Coaches and athletes have been playing on an uneven field. Sports fans and spectators have been deceived and it is time this stops."
McLaren went on to say that the 2012 London Olympics were "corrupted" by the Russian Olympic team before explaining how Russia violated anti-doping policies that are in place. "The Russian Olympic team corrupted the London Games on an unprecedented scale, the extent of which will probably never be fully established," he said. "This corruption involved the ongoing use of prohibited substances, washout testing, and false reporting. The desire to win medals superseded their collective moral and ethical compass and Olympic values of fair play."
The report released by McLaren is actually the second such report the WADA has released this year. The organization also released a similar, slightly less explosive report back in July that confirmed widespread doping in Russia but that did not include all of the evidence in this latest report. The evidence can be found here.
The WADA tweeted out details of the press conference McLaren held on Friday:
Russian officials have tried to downplay the WADA's findings in the past, but it seems like it will be difficult for them to do that this time around. The IOC has not released a statement with regards to the WADA report yet.