Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has published a new version of its Independent Person (IP) Report into allegations of corruption within the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics laboratory, which omits a January 2015 letter written by Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, Director of the Sochi 2014 and Moscow anti-doping laboratories. The document now numbers 89 pages and is 695.93kb rather than the 97 pages and 2.6mb of the original. The Sports Integrity Initiative has asked WADA why it has posted an amended version, and if any other changes have been made to the document.
The January 2015 letter to Russia’s state police (FSB) and the Russian Ministry of Sport, included as an Appendix to the report, was entitled ‘Situation in Athletics’. One of the reasons the letter may have been removed is that names and contact details had been clumsily erased. Another reason the letter may have been removed could be due to the interesting claims made by Rodchenkov.
In the letter, Rodchenkov warns of the ‘danger’ from samples of blood and urine stored at the University of Lausanne laboratory (CHUV) from the Beijing 2008 Olympics. He says that re-analysis of those samples would be a ‘disaster’, because prior to 2015, oral turinabol could only be detected for five to seven days. From 2015, it could be detected for four to six months.
Another name for turinabol is dehydrochlormethyltestosterone, which was detected in the samples of 20 of the 25 weightlifters who have returned adverse analytical findings (AAF) from the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) reanalysis of samples given at the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympics. In the letter, Rodchenkov alleges that a previous IOC retesting programme from Athens 2004 samples only involved athletes from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.
In the letter, Rodchenkov suggests that Russia should start working with the Lausanne laboratory, as ‘Professor Martial Saugy is still working as Director, and is very well related to Russia’. He mentions that Saugy ‘and his five employees worked at the Sochi Winter Olympics’ and that Saugy ‘is close to many functionaries at the IOC and Medical Director Richard Budgett’.
As previously reported by The Sports Integrity Integrity Initiative, Saugy and his five employees worked as paid consultants to the Sochi 2014 laboratory. A photo posted on Professor Arne Ljungqvist’s blog (screenshot below) confirms Saugy’s presence at Sochi and shows him standing next to Natalia Zhelanova and Budgett.
The Russian Ministry of Sport recently suspended Zhelanova, after she was implicated in the WADA IP Report. In April, she was promoted to become Anti-Doping Advisor to Russia’s Minister of Sport, Vitaly Mutko. The IP Report implicated her as being involved in the state doping scheme from 2012. This ties in with evidence from ARD and the Sunday Times suggesting that she had interfered with the doping control process.
The first WADA Independent Commission report was not satisfied with the explanation given by Saugy regarding the destruction of 67 samples sent from the Moscow laboratory in 2012, which WADA had specifically asked it to retain. ‘The IC is not satisfied with the explanations given for the destruction of the samples transferred from the Moscow laboratory’, reads the report. “We got an explanation from the Lausanne Laboratory but we did not believe the explanation”, said Commission President Dick Pound when announcing the Commission’s findings on 9 November 2015.
Rodchenkov’s comments that Saugy is ‘well connected’ to Russia suggest that there may have been more than a contractual relationship between the Lausanne and Moscow laboratories at the Sochi 2014 Olympics. The fact that Rodchenkov suggests that he is ‘close to many functionaries at the IOC’ including Budgett is perhaps also a concern, given the first WADA IC’s dissatisfaction regarding his explanation for the destruction of the 67 samples.
The WADA IP Report found that WADA had ‘warned’ Rodchenkov about a ‘surprise’ investigation through a 7 December 2014 letter, leading to the destruction of 8,000 samples held in Moscow. Given the close links between the laboratories, did Rodchenkov warn Saugy in relation to the 67 samples sent from Moscow to Lausanne in 2012?
‘WADA immediately came to Moscow in December 2014 for an inspection’, writes Rodchenkov. ‘It took to Lausanne in 2,912 samples and 714 sealed (arrested) boxes to send over’. What happened to these samples?
The Sports Integrity Initiative has previously highlighted inconsistencies within the WADA IP Report and its failure to consider WADA’s own failings. It now appears to have removed an important piece of evidence from the IP Report without an explanation. The inconsistencies highlighted in the IP Report and the removal of Rodchenkov’s letter require an explanation. Unless this happens, the IOC’s resolve to make anti-doping independent from sport will strengthen.
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