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World Anti-Doping Agency ‘Disappointed’ IOC Lets Russians Compete in Rio

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) expressed disgust with the decision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to allow the Russian team to compete at the Rio games despite evidence of systematic use of performance-enhancing drugs.

“WADA is disappointed that the IOC did not heed WADA’s Executive Committee recommendations that were based on the outcomes of the McLaren Investigation and would have ensured a straight-forward, strong and harmonized approach,” WADA President Sir Craig Reedie explained in a statement. “The McLaren Report exposed, beyond a reasonable doubt, a state-run doping program in Russia that seriously undermines the principles of clean sport embodied within the World Anti-Doping Code.”

The IOC decided to ban the Russian track team. But it refuses to bar participation of athletes from other sports just because of their national affiliation, saying such a prohibition “does not allow … sufficient time for hearings for affected athletes, officials and organisations.” The committee ruled that “each affected athlete must be given the opportunity to rebut the applicability of collective responsibility in his or her individual case.” The IOC set a number of stipulations for the athletes tainted by Russian affiliation to meet before they can compete.

In a cruel twist of fate, the committee refused to allow the whistleblower responsible for exposing the state-organized drug use of the track and field team to participate in the Olympics as a neutral, non-affiliated athlete. The IOC points out that she benefited from the Russian system before she exposed it.

WADA objected strenuously to that decision.

“WADA has been very vocal in supporting Yulia’s desire to compete as an independent athlete,” WADA director general Olivier Niggli maintained in a statement. “Ms. Stepanova was instrumental in courageously exposing the single biggest doping scandal of all time. WADA is very concerned by the message that this sends whistleblowers for the future.”

The Rio Summer Olympics begin on August 5 and continue through August 21.

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