On Monday, a report by a commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) effectively accused Russia of building a state-sponsored doping program that connected athletes, doctors, trainers, and state-security forces with cheating, bribes, cover-ups, extortion, and the destruction of evidence.
The report may have some serious long-term consequences for Russia, which could be barred from international track and field events, open itself up to criminal proceedings, or be kept out of the 2016 Olympics. On Tuesday, WADA took a first step by suspending the accreditation of the Moscow Anti-Doping Center, the laboratory in charge of conducting tests and making sure that none of this happened.
Russian officials, for their part, have taken a fascinating tack in response to WADA’s report, alternating between disbelief, denial, and acceptance as the story gained traction and the ramifications emerged. Here’s a quick list of their reactions.
Grigory Rodchenkov: The head of the Moscow Anti-Doping Center, called WADA “idiots,” on Monday after the agency accused him of destroying over 1,400 doping samples before inspectors could see them. WADA also recommended a lifetime ban against him specifically.
Dmitry Peskov: Of WADA’s report, the spokesperson for Russian President Vladimir Putin said that “as long as there is no evidence, it is difficult to consider the accusations, which appear rather unfounded.”
Vitaly Mutko: The Russian sports minister called the WADA report “baseless and really fictional” on Monday.
Nikita Kamaev: The head of the country’s anti-doping agency told reporters that those who believe Russian state-security officials were involved in a doping scandal “live in the times of early films about James Bond.”
Russian Ministry of Sport: “We are not surprised by most of the points in the report. We are fully aware of the problems in the All-Russia Athletic Federation and we have undertaken measures to remedy the situation.”
Grigory Rodchenkov, Part II: The head of Moscow Anti-Doping Center resigned on Tuesday after being accused of destroying over 1,400 doping samples before inspectors could see them.
Vitaly Mutko, Part II: The Russian sports minister announced that Rodchenkov “took the decision to resign to take all the negatives away with him.”
Nikita Kameav, Part II: The head of the country’s anti-doping agency said Russia is “on the path to cleaning up sport" on Tuesday.
So, depending on whom you ask, the report is either fiction concocted by idiots or a real possibility that warranted the resignation of the man in charge of catching doping athletes. In any case, as the International Olympic Committee and others demand further responses from Russia and weigh more actions against it, consider it open season for minced words and hyperbole.