Pre-2012 tour crucial for Russian doping boss

LONDON • The mastermind behind the Russian doping programme has revealed that he was able to corrupt the London 2012 Olympics only because he was invited to Britain by the organisers and shown how they planned to catch cheats.

Grigory Rodchenkov, who ran the Moscow anti-doping laboratory from 2005 to 2015, has admitted that without this knowledge the Russian doping situation would have "collapsed" long before he fled the country two years ago.

"You can imagine how important the information from the London laboratory is for the Russian national team," he says in the forthcoming film, Icarus. "I had information of what this laboratory was doing to understand where we are - and how much is danger. Without this, all Russian doping situation will be collapsed."

The film will be available on Netflix early next month.

According to The Observer, it details how Rodchenkov was able to dope Russian athletes and corrupt the anti-doping system - more comprehensively in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi - and how he fled Moscow because he feared for his life and turned whistle-blower.

He is now in the United States under the FBI witness protection programme.

Rodchenkov also suggests that he believes that Nikita Kamaev, 52, a former head of Rusada, the Russian anti-doping agency, was murdered last year by the Russian authorities because he was planning to write a book about what he knew.

"He is my friend from school time and he never complained about his heart or any health problems," Rodchenkov says.

Before London 2012, there were reports about how science was ahead of the dopers and that the authorities would have 1,000 staff on call 24/7 during the Games.

However Rodchenkov, who was one of 115 anti-doping scientists who worked in the laboratory in King's College during the Olympics, had also been given a pre-Games facility tour and briefing and knew what to expect.

In the film, he also details the state-run doping programme at the 2014 Winter Olympics, which included supplying banned performance-enhancing substances to at least 15 medal winners and substituting clear urine samples for tainted ones during the Games so that they passed doping tests.

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 17, 2017, with the headline 'Pre-2012 tour crucial for Russian doping boss'. Print Edition | Subscribe