USADA Head Says 'Facts' Support Russian Doping Claims

Investigating accusations of state-sponsored PED use

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

Speaking at a doping conference in Singapore on Wednesday, U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart, who spearheaded the investigation and subsequent lifetime ban of Lance Armstrong, called the World Anti-Doping Agency investigation into accusations of Russian state-sponsored doping “a defining moment, if not the defining moment” in the worldwide fight against PED use.

“When there’s evidence of these types of allegations, it’s incumbent upon the overseers of the whole anti-doping program, WADA, and its role under the code to fully vet and investigate the allegations that have been made and hold any people that have violated the rules accountable,” Tygart said, according to Reuters. “That ultimately is what gives confidence to clean athletes around the world who are otherwise being held to the highest standards.”

Russia recently came under fire for several doping claims involving its top athletes and coaches. A German television station claimed in December that the country’s top Olympic track and field coach, Valentin Maslakov, assisted multiple athletes in doping, that state-run testing facilities had covered up positive doping results, and that a Russian official serving on the executive board of the IAAF solicited a bribe to cover up a positive test of marathoner Liliya Shobukhova. In January, five Olympic race walkers received bans for PED use, including three gold medalists.

“There are allegations out there that have been portrayed in the media [and] there are facts that back some of those allegations,” Tygart said, according to Reuters.

The WADA investigation, announced on December 16, is ongoing. According to the release, WADA will not comment on the case until its conclusion.

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