A report commissioned by WADA has confirmed the claims made by Russian whistleblower Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov that the Russian government was heavily involved in a widespread doping program before and after the Sochi Olympics. Rodchenkov, the former director of Russia's anti-doping lab, told the New York Times that he covered up and tampered with positive samples at the direction of officials from Russia's ministry of sport, tourism, and youth policy. The report, written by a Canadian lawyer named Richard McLaren and embedded below, found that the evidence backed up Rodchenkov's claims "beyond a reasonable doubt."
Significantly, McLaren's report makes note of the extent of the interference from Russian officials:
The surprise result of the Sochi investigation was the revelation of the extent of State oversight and directed control of the Moscow Laboratory in processing, and covering up urine samples of Russian athletes from virtually all sports before and after the Sochi Games.
The IC [Independent Commission] exposed State involvement in the manipulation of the doping control program operated by Russian Anti-Doping Agency ("RUSADA") and within Russian Athletics. The IC Report detailed the in the field regime for doping athletes and the corruption surrounding it. The outcomes of the IP add a deeper understanding to this scheme and show proof of State directed oversight and corruption of the entirety of the Moscow laboratory's analytical work.
The State implemented a simple failsafe strategy. If all the operational precautions to promote and permit doping by Russian athletes proved to have been ineffective for whatever reason, the laboratory provided a failsafe mechanism. The State had the ability to transform a positive analytical result into a negative one by ordering that the analytical process of the Moscow Laboratory be altered. The Ministry of Sport ("MofS"), RUSADA and the Russian Federal Security Service (the "FSB") were all involved in this operation.
The question for Russia now becomes what the IOC does with this information as the Olympics in Rio approach. The International Association of Athletics Federation previously banned Russian Track and Field from the Olympics and the IOC upheld that ban, but as the Games approach, there have been calls for an outright ban on all Russian participation in Rio. A letter drafted by the United States and Canadian Anti-Doping Agencies in anticipation of this report's release urges the IOC to ban Russia, while making exceptions for athletes "who can prove they were subject to strong anti-doping systems in other countries."
Update: IOC president Thomas Bach called the findings in the report "a shocking and unprecedented attack on integrity of sport & Olympic Games" and said that the committee "will not hesitate to take toughest sanctions available against any individual or organization implicated."
The executive board of the IOC is scheduled to hold a conference call tomorrow to discuss potential sanctions. In the interim, WADA has called for an outright ban: