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The man who led a months-long investigation into Russian doping calls the scandal unprecedented in modern times. Today in a report commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, he says there were over a thousand Russian athletes involved in state-sponsored doping. That's over a recent four-year period, including the Olympic Games in London and Sochi. NPR's Tom Goldman has more.
TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Investigator Richard McLaren released evidence in July showing Russia had undertaken a massive state-sponsored doping operation. Today he was back with more damning details.
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RICHARD MCLAREN: The conspiracy was perpetrated from at least 2011 to 2015.
GOLDMAN: At a London press conference, McLaren said the thousand-plus athletes involved in the conspiracy competed in the summer and winter games and Paralympics. There are medal winners, and in the case of two female hockey players, male DNA in their urine samples. Proof, McLaren says, of the kind of sample tampering that was widespread. For years, he says, international competitions have been hijacked by the Russians.
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MCLAREN: Coaches and athletes have been playing on an uneven field. Sports fans and spectators have been deceived.
GOLDMAN: Along with his nearly 150-page report, McLaren also released evidence, including nearly 1,200 documents, photos, forensic reports, emails and test results - no names of athletes, however, since their alleged doping cases are under review. We have the evidence, McLaren says - not so, say Russian state media. The official government newspaper says empty talk is Mr. McLaren's distinguishing feature.
There was similar criticism in July when McLaren released his initial report. It was right before the Rio Summer Olympics, and it led to more than 100 Russian athletes being banned from those games. Many were angry the International Olympic Committee decided not to ban the entire Russian team from Rio. U.S. Olympic hurdler Jeff Porter says now the IOC has another chance. It should ban Russia from the next Olympics, the 2018 Winter Games, and even beyond.
JEFF PORTER: If an athlete tests positive, that's a four-year ban. But if a national governing body and an Olympic Committee conspires to dope athletes, we're giving them other chances.
GOLDMAN: Porter is leading a petition campaign to strengthen anti-doping efforts. He's the new chairman of USA Track & Field's Athlete Advisory Committee. Three-hundred-sixty-two U.S. athletes have signed the petition so far demanding more money for anti-doping and less conflict of interest.
Critics note the president of the World Anti-Doping Agency has been a high-ranking IOC member as well. Doping historian John Hoberman says the IOC has to get out of the anti-doping business.
JOHN HOBERMAN: History shows us that the IOC has been ineffectual.
GOLDMAN: And Hoberman says now the IOC is facing a crisis of its own making.
HOBERMAN: Because they were negligent and in some cases corrupt about subverting the anti-doping process. That is why you cannot have the IOC anywhere near the reconstruction process.
GOLDMAN: The IOC is not talking about reconstruction. The committee released a statement today saying it has two commissions dedicated to following up on McLaren's report. The IOC thanked McLaren and acknowledged the evidence he produced shows there was a fundamental attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games and on sports in general. Tom Goldman, NPR News.
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