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Russia’s Rio Olympics Fate: IOA Will Not Impose Blanket Ban And A Detailed Investigation On How Russia tampered The Samples

russia doping

Only 12 days are left for the Rio Olympics but Russia’s fate is still uncertain. Russia’s doping story turns in a new direction when IOC (International Olympics Committee) announced it will not impose blanket ban on Russia but athletes have to prove their innocence to take part in Rio.

On Sunday, 24th July Olympic officials stated that the country’s doping system has tainted all athletes of the nation and IOC would not allow Russia to compete unless they convinced their innocence to individual sports federations. Now the responsibility is on the individual sport federations whether to give chance to the athletes for Rio Olympics. The committee further said it would reject the entry of those athletes who wouldn’t meet the requirements set out for the federations.

Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed the doping allegations were forced politically and meant to damage Russia’s reputation in the world. The Olympic committee has been under pressure to banish powerful Olympic nation for the most expensive doping case in the history.

As said by the WADA’s safeguarding rule, every country’s anti- doping agency is duty-bound to store the urine samples for 10 years. In case athletes had doped in any of their performance, the investigators can go through the sample to check the reports. Hundreds of thousands of these samples are stored in these labs. But the WADA discovered that there’s no difficulty to open the bottles.

The head of the U.S. Olympic Committee, Scott Blackmun reported to Associated Press, “It is increasingly difficult to defend the current system following a breakdown of this magnitude.” He continued, “Doping is a problem all around the world, not just in Russia.”

On 16th July, WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) confirmed that the urine bottles of Russian athletes were tampered. During the Sochi Olympics, an agent from the Russian state security services unsealed the bottle to change the urine of the athletes who had been charged in doping test and replaced it with clear urine.

Russian doctor explains the process to tamper the sample bottles to The New York Times

The Russian anti-doping laboratory director, Grigory Rodchenkov confessed that every night an agent of sport’s official sent him the list of athletes whose urine samples were needed to be exchanged. Also, the athletes sent their photos which help to understand which sample was theirs.

After midnight, after receiving the signal, Dr. Rodchenkov and his team entered the room no. 124 which he converted into a laboratory from a storage space. This room was beside the Room no. 125 where the collected samples of urine were kept.

rooms
Urine sample bottles were passed through a hole between the two rooms Diagram by Jeremy White

A colleague of the collection room passed the samples through a hole in the wall near the floor which was covered with a white plastic cap. In the other side, Room no. 124 the opening of the hole was covered by a wood cabinet during the day.

 

hole two
View of the hole from the “storage space” where Dr. Rodchenkov and his colleagues worked
hole one
View of the hole from the official urine sample collection room Photographs by Grigory Rodchenkov, via Bryan Fogel, Icarus Documentary Film

The bottles of urine sample, manufactured by a Swiss company, Berlinger, and the bottles were designed in that way no one could open it without breaking its cap after it had been sealed.

glass bottle
Diagram by Yuliya Parshina-Kottas

In room 124, Dr. Rodchenkov collected the sample bottles through the hole and he gave it to a Russian Intelligence officer. Then the officer took the bottle to a nearby building and returned with the bottles within few hours with loose and unbroken caps.

After that, the DR. and his team cleaned and emptied the bottles with filter paper and filled the bottle with uncontaminated urine which was originally collected from the athletes.

sample bottle
Each cap is imprinted with a unique number to match the bottle, so no other cap can be substituted. The bottle is five inches tall and two inches wide. Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

They then add table salt and water to balance out any contradictions which were specified in the recorded specifications of the two samples. Two urine samples taken at different times would differ and it depended on what an athlete had consumed.

Suchismita Biswas
Suchismita Biswas

Pen is mightier than swords – these words make me passionate about writing. Except writing I love to travel , love to explore the unknown places, love photography and love listening to music. Also I am an avid reader of books. I’m a simple girl but I am what I am.

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