Russia on Friday (May 13) denied claims it ran a sophisticated doping programme at the last winter Olympics in Sochi.
The new scandal further threatens the country’s participation in the Rio Games this summer. But in Moscow, top officials called it a treacherous attempt to besmirch Russian sport.
Russia’s deputy sports minister, Yury Nagornykh, told reporters: “Russian sport and the Russian Federation do not have any kind of doping programme and there has never been one, before or during the Olympic Games in Sochi.”
Dozens of athletes are alleged to have cheated at Sochi, including cross-country skier Alexander Legkov and bobsledder Alexander Zubkov, who rejected the claims as “nonsense and slanderous.”
“This is … the defamation of my name in sports, in this world elite, of my achievements during the last 15 years,” Zubkov said.
The former head of Russia’s anti-doping lab, Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, told the New York Times that officials supplied athletes with banned performance-enhancing substances, and worked in the middle of the night to exchange tainted urine samples with clean ones through a hole in the wall.
The World Anti-Doping Agency in Canada said it would probe the allegations.