Russian minister hits out at ‘absurd’ Sochi doping claims
Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko on Thursday described as “absurd” allegations that Russian athletes were involved in systematic doping at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
A report in the New York Times based on information from the former head of Russia’s anti-doping laboratory claimed that dozens of athletes including 15 medallists were involved.
“I think that the guys (accused by the New York Times) are exceptional athletes, the accusations are absurd,” Mutko said in comments cited by Russian news agency TASS.
“The charges against them are baseless. We will analyze this article and decide how we will react,” he added.
In an interview with the the New York Times, Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of Russia’s national anti-doping laboratory, claimed that there was a state-run doping program before and during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi with 15 Olympic medallists involved.
“All that is dirty politics. In these statements, there is no truth, these are just rumors,” Willi Schneider, head coach of the Russian bobsleigh team, told TASS.
Elena Vialbie, president of the Russian cross-country skiing federation, added: “All that is unfounded. I find it funny and sad. Defend (cross-country skier Alexander) Legkov? And why should I defend him, if he never doped, either before the Olympics, during or after.”
Russia topped the medals table in Sochi with 33 medals, including 13 Olympic titles.
The International Olympic Committee on Thursday called for an immediate probe into the newspaper allegations.
“These allegations are very detailed and very worrying and we ask the World Anti-Doping Agency to investigate immediately,” the IOC spokesman said.
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