World Anti-Doping Agency president Craig Reedie has appointed Richard McLaren as the independent overseer of an investigation into allegations of state-sponsored doping at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Reedie issued a statement late Thursday saying McLaren, a long-standing member of the Court of Arbitration for Sport and a member of WADA’s three-person independent commission which exposed wide-spread doping in Russian track and field, would investigate allegations published by CBS’ “60 Minutes” and the New York Times in the relation to the Sochi Olympics.
A WADA report last year outlined a state-sponsored doping scheme in Russia. Then, in an interview published last week in the Times, Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of the Russian lab now living in Los Angeles, said that he switched tainted urine samples for clean ones at the doping lab used for the Sochi Games, with help from people he believed to be officers of the Russian security services.
“60 Minutes” also aired a report last week with a whistleblower who said he sent 200 emails and 50 letters about Russian doping to WADA, but was told the agency didn’t have the power to investigate inside the country. CBS later reported that the FBI was looking into allegations surrounding Russian doping.
Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko acknowledged that Russia has a problem with doping, and said Russia was “ashamed” in a column for the British newspaper The Sunday Times. But he did not admit any involvement by the Russian government. Other Russian officials have firmly denied the allegations and have threatened to sue the Times.
Russian and U.S. prosecutors are also investigating the allegations.
Russia will learn on June 17 whether its athletics federation has met the reform criteria to return to competition in time for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.