Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Sports

IOC chief: Zero tolerance if Russian doping proven

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LONDON — The latest allegations of state-sponsored doping in Russia could lead to suspension of entire national federations, heavy fines and lifetime Olympic bans, IOC president Thomas Bach said Wednesday.

Bach declined to say if the IOC would consider banning Russia from this year's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, maintaining such a move hinges on a choice between "collective responsibility" and "individual justice."

"We are waiting for the facts," he said. "We need a fair procedure for everybody. Should the allegations be proven true, we will apply our zero tolerance policy, not only with the athletes but also with regards to everyone implicated within our reach."

Bach also said the final results of retests of doping samples from the 2008 and 2012 Games — which have caught 31 athletes so far — will be known early next month, in time for drug cheats to be barred from going to the Olympics in August.

Bach said allegations that Russian officials subverted the drug-testing system at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi "represent a shocking new dimension in doping" and an "unimaginable level of criminality."

Grigory Rodchenkov, former head of the Russian lab now living in Los Angeles, told the New York Times last week that he ran an organized doping program for Russian athletes and helped switch tainted samples for clean ones. Rodchenkov said he was helped by people he believed to be Russian security officers.

The IOC has asked the World Anti-Doping Agency to carry out a full-fledged investigation and plans to retest Sochi samples stored at the lab in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The Russian sports ministry said Wednesday that it supports banning drug cheats but claimed it would be unfair to keep a blanket ban on all track athletes for the Games.

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