In recent weeks, a new controversy regarding the use of performance enhancing drugs among Olympic athletes has become the main focus of sports media and received universal attention, as well as a great deal of scrutiny. Since the 1960s, countless sports competitors have been penalized for “doping” to further augment their athletic ability, but very few cases have amounted to the gravity of the current doping allegations being made against Russia in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
In February of 2014, Russia received substantial recognition for taking home 33 Olympic medals, a record total for the Winter Olympics. However, it has recently been brought to light by a story posted by The New York Times that at least 15 of Russia’s medalists had supposedly engaged in doping in preparation for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi. Due to the fact that Russian sports have a notorious reputation for doping, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), FBI, U.S. Justice Department, International Olympic Committee, Russian government officials and several other teams are preforming a thorough investigation into these serious claims.
Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, a lab director for the 2014 Olympics, admitted in his interview with the Times of the unlawful events that had taken place, with both the athletes and the lab tests. Rodchenkov played such a large role in the scandal that he eventually fled to the United States once the story began to spread and the public’s discernment began to escalate. Rodchenkov stated that he arranged athletes to be on a three-drug cocktail regimen, consisting of banned substances, such as anabolic steroids, and alcohol. The consumption of liquor served as a method for removing the forbidden substances from the individual’s bloodstream at a quicker rate in time.
In addition to this, Rodchenkov said that roughly 100 urine samples were tampered with. With help from anti-doping experts and an intelligence team, Rodchenkov was able to breach the system by replacing urine samples of the best athletes with uncontaminated urine that was gathered at a previous date. Although some athletes get involved in doping by his or her own choosing, many Russian athletes feel compelled to. In a documentary broadcasted on MDR, a German television network, Russian athlete Yuliya Stepanov stated, “You have to dope, that’s how it works in Russia.” Stepanov continued on to say, “functionaries and coaches tell you very clearly that you can only get so far with your natural skills. In order to get medals, you need help. And that help is doping.” Athletes seem to be almost manipulated into doping by their coaches so that they can be better than the competition.
Unfortunately, this puts the athlete’s health at risk, and damages the reputation of both the individual and the country. The investigation into the 2014 Olympic doping allegations has demanded a recall on all urine samples from that time to be retested. Russia’s athletics team will be expelled from competing in this year’s Summer Games in Rio if the urine samples come back positive for any of the banned substance. Should any of the Russian medalists’ urine samples from the 2014 winter games are found to not be clean, these individuals will be stripped of their medals. The global World Anti-Doping Agency will come to a conclusion and make its decision on the Russian athletics team eligibility on June 17, 2016.
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