Whistleblowers: The IOC does not want to fight doping

Photo: Erik Van Leeuwen/Wikimedia

Yuliya Stepanova (then Rusanova) in 2012. Photo: Erik Van Leeuwen/Wikimedia


By Stine Alvad
The Stepanov couple feels let down by the IOC and Thomas Bach and issues call for athletes to share their knowledge and accept their responsibility.

In a video press meeting following WADA’s confirmation that Yuliya Stepanova’s ADAMS account had been hacked, the whistleblower couple, 800 meter runner Yuliya Stepanova,800m runner and her husband Vitaly Stepanov, former employee with the Russian anti-doping agency, the couple who fled Russia after having blown the whistle on state-supported doping practices, talked about the consequences of their choice and about their disappointment with the IOC.

"The only reason somebody would hack an ADAMS account is to find out your exact location," Stepanova said about the hack. "We decided it was safer to relocate. If something happens to us then you should know that it is not an accident," she added, according to Reuters.

Based on information emerging from the Stepanov couple, who fled Russia after having blown the whistle on state-supported doping practices, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) in July decided to ban Russia from the 2016 Games due to findings revealing a state-sponsored doping regime.

But unlike the IAAF and WADA, the International Olympic Committee has not been ‘on their side’, said Vitaly Stepanov.

“The IAAF and WADA have been on our side. Unfortunately, the IOC have not been on our side and that says to me: The IOC does not want to fight against doping,” he said in an interview on the German channel ARD.

The IOC decided to leave the final decision about whether to ban Russian athletes up to the international federations and to ban Russian athletes who had previously served a doping ban, leaving Stepanova ineligible because of a two-year ban issued in 2013.

Stepanova is disappointed not to be competing at the Olympics, but her disappointment also extends to the way that the IOC and its president, Thomas Bach, have handled her case.

“The IOC or Thomas Bach do not try to understand our situation clearly. They simply take a position that is going to be to their greatest benefit,” she said according to the Guardian’s Owen Gibson, one of the journalists who joined the video conference call with the Russian couple.

“With the way the IOC decided to deal with systematically supported doping by the state, they showed that, if the country supports doping, the IOC will not show this zero tolerance.”

Stepanova believes that there are doping cheaters among the athletes competing at the Rio Games and she called on athletes, whom she believes know about the scale of the problem to speak up.

“Athletes need to bear some responsibility. They need to start telling the truth,” she saidys, writes the Guardian, acknowledging that speaking out within the Russian sports system will have substantial consequences.

“There is nowhere you can go. You open your mouth and you are fired.”

Three athletes – no Russians –- have so far tested positive and have been sent home since the beginning of the Games on 24 July. The IOC’s medical chief, Richard Budgett, on Tuesday issued a warning to athletes considering to dope.

“If someone thinks they have designer drugs eventually they will be found,” Budgett said. “The message for all those cheats out there is 'beware you will be caught.' I am confident we have the deterrents that should lead to the protection of clean athletes.”

Budgett spoke at a press conference in Rio where he also told the press that the tests taken in Rio will be stored for ten years allowing retests using the newest testing methods, writes SportBusiness.


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