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In elaborate ploy, Russia doped its Olympic athletes, report says

Many of Russia’s biggest stars from the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi were part of a state-run, performance-enhancing drug ring, according to The New York Times.

The allegations come from Grigory Rodchenkov, former head of the nation’s drug testing lab. A third of the country’s leading medalists may have been implicated, including gold medalist Alexander Legkov and 13 other members of the cross-country skiing team. Veteran bobsledder and gold medalist Alexander Zubkov is listed as well as the entire women’s hockey team, which finished in sixth place.

Rodchenkov said he “developed a three-drug cocktail of banned substances that he mixed with liquor and provided to dozens of Russian athletes,” in one of the most elaborate drug rings in Olympic history. He estimates that as many as 100 tainted urine samples were swapped during the Games. The news story supports claims made by the World Anti-Doping Agency last autumn.

In the story, Ruiz and New York Times reporter Michael Schwirtz wrote:

Dr. Rodchenkov’s account could not be independently verified, but it was consistent with the broad findings of a report published last year by the World Anti-Doping Agency. He provided The Times with emails detailing doping efforts and a spreadsheet that he said was sent to him by the sports ministry before the Sochi Games. It named the athletes involved in the doping program

Back in Russia, two of Dr. Rodchenkov’s close colleagues died unexpectedly in February, within weeks of each other; both were former antidoping officials, one who resigned soon after Dr. Rodchenkov fled the country.

Following an investigation by CBS 60 Minutes on Sunday, the World Anti-Doping Agency decided to probe the Russian doping allegations.

“WADA will probe these new allegations immediately,” WADA President, Sir Craig Reedie said in a statement. “The claims made in the program offer real cause for concern, as they contain new allegations regarding attempts to subvert the anti-doping process at the Sochi Games.”

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