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US Anti-Doping Agency chief blasts IOC over Russian doping

2018-07-26 10:34
Travis Tygart (AP Photo)

Washington - The head of the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) blasted the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Wednesday for failing to hold Russia accountable for doping in sports.

Referring to the IOC decision to allow Russian athletes to take part in the Rio and Pyeongchang Olympic games, USADA CEO Travis Tygart said the IOC "chose not to stand up for clean athletes and against institutionalised doping."

"Certainly, history will not judge that decision kindly," Tygart said at a hearing on doping in sports held by the US Helsinki Commission, a US agency that looks at human rights in Europe.

Also testifying before the commission was former Russian athlete Yuliya Stepanova, who fled to the United States with her husband Vitaly following their 2014 revelations of widespread doping in Russia.

"The fight against corruption in Russian sports is not easy," Stepanova said.

"From the beginning it was our hope to get more people to tell the truth.

"We are now traitors to Russia," she said.

Stepanova also said she believes most Russian athletes who dope "don't feel like they're doing something wrong because they believe all athletes around the world are doing the same."

The commission also heard from the lawyer for another Russian whistleblower, Grigory Rodchenkov, the anti-doping lab chief who left Russia in 2015 and exposed the country's scheme to evade drug-testers at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Jim Walden, Rodchenkov's attorney, said his client could not appear personally "due to the ever present threat of Russian retaliation against him."

Tygart, the USADA CEO, said that after "widespread, state-supported" doping was exposed in Russia the IOC "missed - or ignored - a defining moment to confront, in the clearest way possible, the win-at-all-costs culture of corruption through doping in global sport.

"It was an opportunity to draw an unambiguous line in the sand; a chance to stand up for clean athletes," he said.

"Yet, when the decisive moment arrived, when the lights were shining brightest, the IOC failed to lead."

Read more on:    russia  |  doping  |  travis tygart
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