Updated on July 18 at 1:45 p.m. ET
NEWS BRIEF The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has recommended that all Russian athletes be barred from competing in the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games. The announcement comes just a few hours after a the release of a two-month investigation that found the Russian government helped dozens of its athletes cheat at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Richard McLaren, a Canadian law professor and sports lawyer, who presented the findings at a news conference Monday in Toronto, said he established “beyond a reasonable doubt” Russian government involvement in the doping coverup.
In its statement after the presentation, WADA said, “Given that the Russian Ministry of Sport orchestrated systematic cheating of Russian athletes to subvert the doping control process; and that, the evidence shows such subversion in 30 sports, including 20 Olympic summer sports and Paralympic sports, the presumption of innocence of athletes in these sports, and in all Russian sports, is seriously called into question.”
The report came out less than three weeks before summer games in Rio. Although there has been no final determination, the International Association of Athletics’ Federations (IAAF), which governs track-and-field events worldwide, was expected to seek a ban on all Russian athletes. Reuters first reported the news Saturday when it obtained a leaked draft of a letter prepared in anticipation of the WADA report’s release. IAAF officials who reportedly wrote the letter to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said, in part:
Therefore, consistent with the Principles, Charter and Code we request that the IOC Executive Board take the action to suspend the Russian Olympic and Paralympic Committee from participating in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
The only appropriate, and permissible, course of action in these unprecedented circumstances is for the IOC to immediately suspend the Russian Olympic and Paralympic Committees from the Olympic Movement.... and declare that no athlete can represent Russia at the Rio Olympic Games.
The Olympic Committee has already banned Russian track-and-field athletes from the Rio games, which begin August 5. A total ban on all athletes would be novel, and is seen by some as the “nuclear option.”