Russian Athletic Associations Face Doping Accusations

German documentary alleges corruption, cover-ups

Russian athlete Liliya Shobukhova, three-time Chicago marathon winner and Olympian, allegedly paid nearly $600,000 to avoid a doping suspension. (SNappa2006/Flickr)
Photo: SNappa2006/Flickr

A documentary that aired Wednesday on German TV network ARD alleged a widespread doping conspiracy in Russian athletics, according to the Associated Press.

The program featured several former Russian athletes. Marathoner Liliya Shobukhova, three-time winner in Chicago, said she paid about $550,000 to the Russian Athletics Federation to have a positive test covered up in advance of the London Olympics. Earlier this year, she was given a two-year ban for doping.

Sprinter Iuliia Stepanova, currently serving a ban, detailed practices like traveling under assumed names while training. Discus thrower Yevgeniya Pecherina estimated virtually all Russian athletes are using performance-enhancing drugs.

The documentary also featured several secretly filmed videos, one of which reportedly shows current 800-meter Olympic champion Maria Savinova admitting to doping. Other videos appeared to show Russian athletic officials discussing performance-enhancing drugs.

The report focused on runners and track and field athletes but also implicated officials in other sports, including swimming, cycling, and cross-country skiing. The Russian Athletics Federation has denied the allegations; an investigation by the IAAF, the governing body of international athletics, is ongoing.

Paula Radcliffe, the only woman to run a marathon faster than Shobukhova before the Russian’s title was stripped, expressed her disgust in a post to her Twitter account. “The ARD doping documentary is making me sick to my stomach. Some of the allegations coming out of this are every sport’s worst nightmare,” she said.

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