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IOC Confirms Ban on Russian Athletes at Rio Games


Grigory Rodchenkov, the ex-director of Russia's anti-doping agency RUSADA, told The New York Times on May 12 that he helped provide banned substances to athletes and replace drug-tainted testing samples with clean ones during the Sochi Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee on Saturday closed the door on the Russian doping case, confirming the decision to ban Russia's track and field team from the Rio Games in August.

Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko told Russian reporters in Moscow that "our athletes have no chance" of competing in Brazil, based on the statement from the IOC.

The decision banning Russian athletes came from the International Association of Athletics Federations, the world governing body of track and field. The IOC said it "fully respects" the track federation's ruling and "welcomes and supports" the ban as another measure to crack down on doping.

The IOC also said it would take "further far-reaching measures to ensure a level playing field" for all athletes taking part in the Rio Games and to emphasize its anti-doping posture.

The IAAF's action, announced Friday, said Russia had not done enough to restore international confidence in its athletes in the wake of the doping scandal.

The former director of Moscow's anti-doping laboratory, Grigory Rodchenkov, revealed last month an elaborate doping cover-up at the 2014 Sochi Olympics that involved at least 15 medalists with close ties to the Russian sports ministry and the FSB security service.

Federal investigators in Moscow have opened a criminal case against Rodchenkov, charging him with abuse of power, but he has left Russia and is not in custody. He currently is in the United States.

A spokesman for the Russian investigators, Vladimir Markov, said Saturday that Rodchenkov had destroyed more than 1,400 doping test samples at his Moscow laboratory in 2014. The World Anti-Doping Agency had requested that the samples be preserved following allegations of Russian athletes' doping offenses at the Sochi Games.

The Russian sports ministry expressed its disappointment, saying in a statement that "clean athletes’ dreams are being destroyed because of the reprehensible behavior of other athletes and officials. They have sacrificed years of their lives striving to compete at the Olympics and now that sacrifice looks likely to be wasted."