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This file photo taken on August 11, 2012 shows Russia's Yury Postrigay (R) and Alexander Dyachenko celebrating after winning the gold medal in the kayak double (K2) 200m men's final A during the London 2012 Olympic Games, at Eton Dorney Rowing Centre in Eton, west of London. Canoeing's governing body has banned five Russians, including a gold medallist and a five-times world champion, from next month's Rio Olympics after an explosive independent report revealed state-run doping across Russian sport.

This file photo taken on August 11, 2012 shows Russia’s Yury Postrigay (R) and Alexander Dyachenko celebrating after winning the gold medal in the kayak double (K2) 200m men’s final A during the London 2012 Olympic Games, at Eton Dorney Rowing Centre in Eton, west of London. Canoeing’s governing body has banned five Russians, including a gold medallist and a five-times world champion, from next month’s Rio Olympics after an explosive independent report revealed state-run doping across Russian sport.

FRANCISCO LEONG/AFP/Getty Images

rio 2016

Russian doping scandal: First round of barred athletes and the WADA report explained


The first federations to ban athletes from the Rio de Janeiro Olympics came from The International Canoe Federation and World Rowing on Tuesday morning.

The barred athletes include:

  • Five Russian canoeists, including 2012 bronze medallist Alexei Korovashkov, after they were named in the McLaren report
  • Three Russian rowers because of two prior bans and one who was also mentioned in the report

READ MORE: Five Russian canoeists, including Olympic champ, banned from Rio

The International Olympic Committee announced on July 24 that it will not impose a blanket ban on Russia for next month's Rio Olympics over the nation's doping record but will leave decisions on individual athletes' participation to the relevant sports federations.

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The announcement is in response to the independent McLaren report that found evidence of widespread state-sponsored doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. It also comes less than two weeks before the Rio Games' Aug. 5 opening ceremony.

Several Canadian athletes, including hockey star Hayley Wickenheiser, have been critical about the IOC's decision.

THE LATEST FROM CATHAL KELLY: The IOC's ruling turns the Putin regime into a figure of fun

The Olympics rings are seen on a fence in front of the Russian Olympic Committee building in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, July 24, 2016.

The Olympics rings are seen on a fence in front of the Russian Olympic Committee building in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, July 24, 2016.

AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin


THE McLAREN REPORT EXPLAINED:



Here are some key takeaways from the McLaren report:

  • The Moscow Antidoping Center in Russia operated within a state-run system for the protection for doped Russian athletes
  • The antidoping laboratory in Sochi operated a sample swapping method to enable doped Russian athletes to compete at the Olympics
  • The sport ministry oversaw the manipulation of test results with participation from several government agencies
  • Whistleblower Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, the former Director of the WADA-accredited Moscow Laboratory, alleged that he added salt to samples to prove he was involved in tampering, which was confirmed by re-tests done by McLaren
  • FSB (Russian Federal Security Service) personnel at Moscow and Sochi labs assisted in manipulating supposed tamper-proof sample bottles. One dressed as a sewage and plumbing contractor

Russia's Minister of Sport Vitaly Mutko, left, with President Vladimir Putin, said the accusations were 'very made up' – but did report the disgraced head of the Moscow lab had been removed.

Russia's Minister of Sport Vitaly Mutko, left, with President Vladimir Putin, said the accusations were 'very made up' – but did report the disgraced head of the Moscow lab had been removed.

MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/AFP/Getty Images

What was the report about?

Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren was tasked with investigating allegations that the Russian government undertook a systemic effort to cover up a state-sponsored doping program at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi.

None of the athletes tested positive at the time, and more than a dozen won medals.

McLaren's work was commissioned by WADA, the World Anti-Doping Agency.

How did it start?

Yuliya Stepanova, a middle-distance runner, together with her husband, Vitaly Stepanov, who worked for Russia's anti-doping agency from 2008 to 2011, spoke out in 2014 about a sophisticated, state-run doping system within Russia.

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In this March 4, 2011, file photo, Yulia Stepanova poses in an undisclosed location. The IAAF has approved Russian whistleblower Yulia Stepanova's bid to compete as a neutral athlete in the European championships and the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. AP Photo/Aleksander Chernykh, File

The couple's detailed accusations set off a series of investigations and additional whistle-blower accounts that have roiled global sports.

She told the German public broadcaster ARD that she had been extorted and pressured to take drugs, and she provided recordings suggesting she was far from alone.

The Stepanovs fled Russia in 2014, and they are living in the United States.

The report also follows on charges made by Grigory Rodchenkov, a laboratory director in Sochi. Rodchenkov told the New York Times that he was ordered to replace tainted urine samples provided by top Russian competitors with clean ones.

How did Russia respond?

Russian officials have dismissed allegations of a state-run doping program as a Western conspiracy intended to smear Russia.

Russian sports officials have apologized for general doping problems while denying government involvement and attributing the scrutiny of Russian athletes to international politics.

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What is WADA?

The World Anti-Doping Agency was created in 1999 through a collective initiative led by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Its mandate is to promote, co-ordinate and monitor the fight against drugs in sports.

It is headquartered in Montreal with regional offices in Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania and Latin America. It receives half of its funding from the IOC and the rest from various national governments.

The agency is responsible for the World Anti-Doping Code, a document that aims to harmonize anti-doping regulations in all sports and countries. It has been adopted by more than 600 sports organizations as well as the IOC and International Paralympic Committee. The code embodies an annually updated list of prohibited substances.

The agency has 34 WADA-accredited labs across the globe to conduct human doping-control sample analyses. It also operates a centralized Web-based Anti-Doping Administration & Management System that stores each athlete's lab results, whereabouts, therapeutic-use exemptions and rule violations history.

Who are the key people?

Richard McLaren: The senior law professor at the University of Western Ontario's law school is an experienced arbiter who has been involved in several high-profile doping and sports labour cases. In May, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) called upon him to lead an unbiased probe into accusations made about Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Mr. McLaren contributed to the 2007 Mitchell Report that investigated steroid use in Major League Baseball. He was among the arbitrators to hear cases for the United States Anti-Doping Agency, including accusations against sprinter Justin Gatlin and cyclists Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton. He's a long-time member of the Court of Arbitration for Sport and serves as president of the International Basketball Federation's arbitration tribunal. He has also served as a salary arbitrator for the National Hockey League and the NHL Players' Association.

He's the founder of Innovative Dispute Resolution Ltd., and practices corporate and commercial law at McKenzie Lake Lawyers in London, Ont.

Grigory Rodchenkov: This former director of Russia's Moscow and Sochi anti-doping labs is the whistle-blower in this case.

He told The New York Times and 60 Minutes in May that Russia was running a cover-up of doping and said he helped dozens of Russian athletes cheat at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. His testimonials served as the catalyst for WADA calling on Mr. McLaren to do an objective investigation. Mr. McLaren's commission interviewed him several times.

Mr. Rodchenkov admitted to destroying 1,417 samples in order to thwart a WADA visit to the Moscow lab. He also said he helped switch bad urine samples for clean ones, and developed cocktails of banned substances – mixed with liquor – for Russia's Sport Ministry to feed its athletes.

He says he was forced to resign by the Russian government. Russian federal investigators opened a criminal case against him on charges of abuse of office. Fearing for his safety, he has since moved to the United States.

Yuri Nagornykh: Prime Minister Vladimir Putin appointed Mr. Nagornykh as Russia's deputy minister of sport in 2010, following a poor showing for Russia at the Vancouver Winter Olympics. He is also a member of the Russian Olympic Committee and reports to Minister of Sport Vitaly Mutko.

Mr. Nagornykh was critical to the smooth running of falsifying positive test results in Moscow, according to Mr. McLaren's report. The commission said it found proof that Mr. Nagornykh was advised of every positive test arising at the Moscow lab from 2011 onward, and was the one to decide which athletes would benefit from a cover-up.

During a May news conference in Moscow, Mr. Nagornykh said there was no way Russia could have manipulated doping samples in Sochi because of the presence of foreign observers. He also denied allegations that he had met regularly with Mr. Rodchenkov to discuss a secret doping program leading to the Sochi Olympics.


Read the full report here:

WADA INVESTIGATION OF SOCHI ALLEGATIONS by The Globe and Mail on Scribd


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Recent coverage by Cathal Kelly

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With files from Cathal Kelly, Paul Waldie, Sean Gordon, Allan Maki, The New York Times, Reuters, Associated Press and Rachel Brady.


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