There were growing calls for Russia to be banned from the Winter Olympics and other major international events after the latest startling revelations of state-sponsored doping across Russian sport.
Richard McLaren described on Friday how Russia “hijacked” sport by involving more than 1,000 athletes in an “institutional conspiracy” to win by mass doping at the Sochi 2014 Winter and London 2012 Olympics and other global competitions.
The Canadian lawyer, who detailed in a previous report how Russian security services were involved in the nefarious scheme, said in a second report for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) that at least 30 sports were implicated and that salt and instant coffee were used to manipulate Russian samples.
Russia’s sports ministry — said to be central to the ruse to cheat its way to success over several years — again denied state backing for doping, saying that it “will continue the fight against doping with zero tolerance”.
Russia’s track and field team was already banned from international competition for doping and was barred from the Rio Olympics in August, but there is now growing pressure — not to mention anger — for more sanctions.
The United States, Britain and Germany all swiftly condemned Russia, while the International Paralympic Committee, which banned Russia completely from the Rio Paralympics in September, called the McLaren findings “astonishing”.
Liz Nicholl, chief executive of UK Sport, which is tasked with helping Britain to Olympic success, said that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) should exclude all Russian competitors from the Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea in 2018.
“Absolutely. Until there’s evidence that Russian athletes are competing clean,” The Daily Telegraph quoted her as saying.
“All the evidence that we’ve got is that they’re not likely to be doing so. So, yes, I think the IOC should be taking a very strong stance and should be excluding Russia until such time as they’ve put their house in order.”
Clemens Prokop, president of the German athletics federation (DLV), called for a total ban on all Russian competitors.
“Russian sport should be excluded from all international competitions, including the Olympic Games, until its credibility is restored,” said Prokop.
“This is a fundamental attack against the Olympic movement when the values of the movement are dragged through the mud by a country.”
The IOC responded to McLaren’s latest damning report by announcing it would reanalyse all 254 urine samples taken from Russian athletes at Sochi.
The report, the IOC declared, showed that there “was a fundamental attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games and on sport in general”.