Seized emails point to doping conspiracy in Russian track and field

"Total protection project" shielded Russian medal winners at the 2012 London Olympics.

By: AP | Paris | Published:November 25, 2016 9:34 pm
FILE - In this Nov.13, 2015 file photo, Jamaican athlete Usain Bolt appears on a television screen inside a building belonging to the IAAF in Monaco. French and German media say emails seized by French authorities investigating suspected blackmail and doping cover-ups in athletics speak of a broadly corrupt system dubbed the "total protection project" that shielded Russian medal winners at the 2012 London Olympics, allowing them compete when they should have been suspended for suspected drug use. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau, File) In a July 2014 message, which ARD published on its website, former Russian athletics head Valentin Balakhnichev wrote of “cynical and cruel blackmail” by IAAF officials. (Source: AP)

French and German media say emails seized by French authorities investigating suspected blackmail and cover-ups in track and field speak of a corrupt system dubbed the “total protection project” that shielded Russian medal winners at the 2012 London Olympics, allowing them to compete when they should have been banned for suspected doping.

The emails published Friday by French newspaper Le Monde and German broadcaster ARD suggest the scale of suspected wrongdoing involving Russian track and field and officials who were then at the IAAF, the sport’s global governing body, may have been broader than previously thought.

In a July 2014 message, which ARD published on its website, former Russian athletics head Valentin Balakhnichev wrote of “cynical and cruel blackmail” by IAAF officials.

Contacted by The Associated Press, Balakhnichev said he cannot comment in detail.