Russia defends transparency of Sochi doping controls

Mon May 9, 2016 5:56pm EDT
 
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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's sports ministry said on Monday it was "certain" about the transparency of its doping controls during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, and that independent observers had managed the testing operation daily.

The ministry was responding to allegations of a testing cover-up at the Sochi Games that included the use of intelligence agents from the country's Federal Security Service, known as the FSB.

"We are... certain about the transparency of doping controls during the Olympic Games," the ministry said in a statement. "In addition to Russian specialists, doping control stations also employed foreign experts.

"Furthermore, a team of independent observers managed the doping control operations on a daily basis during the Games."

Whistleblower Vitaly Stepanov told CBS News in an interview aired on Sunday that the former head of Russia's drug testing laboratory, Grigory Rodchenkov, had informed him he had evidence of a testing cover-up during more than 15 hours of taped conversations.

Rodchenkov also said that at least four Russian gold medalists in 2014 were using steroids, CBS News investigative program '60 Minutes' reported.

Reuters was unable to independently confirm the disclosures in the '60 Minutes' report. Neither Rodchenkov nor Stepanov were immediately available for comment on Sunday.

Stepanov told '60 Minutes' that Rodchenkov had told him "FSB agents worked as doping control officers during the Sochi Games, that FSB tried to control every single step of the anti-doping process in Sochi".

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A man walks past a shop with an Olympic logo in the Black Sea resort town of Sochi December 21, 2013. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov