Russia currently faces the prospect of being banned from the 2020 Tokyo Japan Olympics if the country doesn’t give an adequate reason for how positive drug tests were deleted from its laboratory data.
As you already know, Russia has a long history of its Olympic athletes using illegal performance-enhancing drugs and the committee has punished the country many times over the years.
And now Russia has three weeks to explain but the reasoning could actually be a simple clerical error.
The timeline of Russia’s doping cases and cover-ups is a long, long list.
Dec. 2014 — A German television channel ARD reports on allegations of corruption and systematic doping throughout Russia.
Nov. 2015 — Citing a report by its former president Dick Pound, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) declares Russia’s anti-doping agency noncompliant and shuts down the national drug-testing laboratory.
May 2016 — The New York Times publishes testimony by whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov, the former director of the anti-doping laboratory in Moscow, saying he switched out dirty samples for clean ones.
Aug. 2016 — Russia competes at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro with a reduced squad after dozens of athletes fail vetting of their drug-test history by sports federations.
Dec. 2017 — Faced with evidence of mass Russian cheating at the 2014 Winter Olympics, the IOC officially bans Russia from the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. However, it allows 168 Russians to compete as “Olympic Athletes from Russia.” Basically, they were banned without really being banned. In the following months, WADA reinstates Russia.
And on Monday WADA issued a formal compliance procedure against Russia and now they have three weeks to explain how the positive drug test results were magically deleted from its laboratory database.
The Associated Press reported, “WADA heard about the possible tampering at its executive committee meeting Monday in Tokyo. Turning over the data was a key requirement for the reinstatement of Russia’s anti-doping agency, and WADA has formally opened a compliance procedure that could lead to a new ban if the data was manipulated. The computer files were critical to prosecuting cases against athletes alleged to have cheated at the 2014 Olympics and other major events. ‘The situation is very serious,’ Russian Olympic Committee president Stanislav Pozdnyakov said in a statement.”
While Russia has three weeks to comply with the formal compliance, despite the whistleblower’s explosive testimony, it could be a simple harmless mishap.
The positive tests were all marked with “a+,” which could’ve been construed as a shorthand for “cross out.” That would be the analog description for the digital form, which would effectively delete it out of the system. In that sense, it could’ve been an innocent clerical error that was purely coincidental.
On the other hand, that “coincidence” could’ve been their cover-up and being able to blame the mass deletion on a simple error. In that, WADA would have to prove intent and that may be impossible for them to do so.
But if WADA does find foul play then Russia athletes might be banned altogether from the 2020 Tokyo, Japan Olympic games because the committee is tired of Russia’s long history of antics. However, they may take mercy on the Russian Olympic athletes again.