Doping in Russia

Moscow Olympics has been called the “Chemists’ Games”

Systematic doping in Russian sports has resulted in 43 Olympic and tens of world championships medals being stripped from Russian competitors—the most of any country, more than four times the number of the runner-up, and more than 30% of the global total. Russia has the most competitors that have been caught doping at the Olympic Games in the world, with more than 200.

Russian doping is distinct from doping in other countries because in Russia steroids and other drugs were supplied to sportspeople by the state . Due to widespread doping violations, including an attempt to sabotage ongoing investigations by the manipulation of computer data, in 2019 the World Anti-Doping Agency banned Russia from all major sporting events including the Olympic Games for four years. That ban was later reduced to two years in 2020 by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) following an appeal by Russia. Competitors from Russia are allowed to compete in international competitions under a neutral flag and designation.


At the Summer Olympics in 2021, no more than ten Russians were allowed to compete in the Athletics competition and no more than two Russians (one male and one female) were allowed to compete in the Weightlifting competition due to doping. Two qualified Russian rowers, Nikita Morgachyov and Pavel Sorin, were replaced in the rowing team after testing positive for the banned substance Meldonium and two qualified Russian swimmers, Veronika Andrusenko and Aleksandr Kudashev, were removed from the swimming team based on evidence from the Moscow Anti-Doping laboratory. On appeal to CAS, Andrusenko and Kudashev were reinstated to the swimming squad and cleared to compete.

According to British journalist Andrew Jennings, a KGB colonel stated that the agency’s officers had posed as anti-doping authorities from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to undermine doping tests and that Soviet competitors were “rescued with [these] tremendous efforts”. On the topic of the 1980 Summer Olympics, a 1989 Australian study said “There is hardly a medal winner at the Moscow Games, certainly not a gold medal winner, who is not on one sort of drug or another: usually several kinds. The Moscow Games might as well have been called the Chemists’ Games.”

Documents obtained in 2016 revealed the Soviet Union’s plans for a statewide doping system in track and field in preparation for the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. Dated prior to the country’s decision to participate in the 1984 Summer Olympics boycott, the document detailed the existing steroids operations of the program, along with suggestions for further enhancements. The communication, directed to the Soviet Union’s head of track and field, was prepared by Dr. Sergei Portugalov of the Institute for Physical Culture. Portugalov was also one of the main figures involved in the implementation of the Russian doping program prior to the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Read more here at Wikipedia

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