Any danger to whistleblower Stepanova not an IOC issue-Bach

Sat Aug 20, 2016 5:45pm EDT
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By Karolos Grohmann

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Russian whistleblower Yulia Stepanova may be in danger after her revelations on doping in her country that triggered a massive scandal and forced her to flee, but it is not the International Olympic Committee's responsibility, the IOC said on Saturday.

Middle-distance runner and former drugs cheat Stepanova helped uncover a state-backed and systematic doping program that saw more than 100 Russian athletes banned from the Olympics, including essentially the entire track and field team.

She was then forced to go into hiding in the United States with husband Vitaly, a former Russian anti-doping official, after giving evidence that her government for years facilitated widespread cheating across nearly all Olympic sports.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said last week her online doping management account, which includes her location and address, had been illegally accessed.

IOC president Thomas Bach, responding to a question about a perceived lack of support from the IOC for Stepanova, said: "I have to reject this. We are not responsible for dangers to which Ms. Stepanova may be exposed."

Stepanova said this week that the accessing of her account was done to discover her whereabouts. She has been branded a traitor by many people back home in Russia.

"If something happens to us then you should know that it is not an accident," Stepanova said in a conference call days ago.


Athletics - European championships - Women's 800m qualifiaction - Amsterdam - 6/7/16 Yulia Stepanova of Russia competes. REUTERS/Michael Kooren/File Photo