Officials push to bar Russian Olympic delegation if doping allegations true

Anti-doping agents from at least 10 nations are preparing to press Olympic leaders to ban the entire Russian delegation from the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil if allegations of a state-run doping scandal at the 2014 Winter Games are verified by an upcoming report, Reuters reported.

The country’s track and field team has already been barred from participation in the international competition.

The controversy is ongoing as officials already are dealing with concerns over Zika, contaminated water sources and other problems, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

In a leaked draft letter to the International Olympic Committee, United States Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart and Paul Melia, CEO of the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sports, called for an expanded ban.

“The only appropriate, and permissible, course of action in these unprecedented circumstances is for the IOC to immediately suspend the Russian Olympic and Paralympic Committees from the Olympic Movement…and declare that no athlete can represent Russia at the Rio Olympic Games,” Tygart and Melia wrote.

The World Anti-Doping Agency’s report, which is expected to be released on Monday, will most likely implicate the Russian delegation, according to Joseph de Pencier, chief executive of the Institute of National Anti-Doping Organizations.

“It seems very likely that the report will confirm what will be one of the biggest doping scandals in history, implicating the Russian government in a massive conspiracy against the clean athletes of the world,” de Pencier said in an email reviewed by The New York Times. “This will be a ‘watershed moment’ for clean sport.”

Questions on the ethics of Russia’s operations emerged after the Times reported in May that dozens of Russian athletes, including at least 15 medal winners, participated in a state-run doping program leading up to the 2014 Winter Games, which were held in Sochi, Russia.