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Russian Chemist Defects with Doping Diaries

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Russia sanctioned in 2018 Winter Olympics?
NY Times, 11-28-17
NOTE: The posting below is a amended version of a riveting and award-worthy Clips eFlash that was posted on 11-28-7 and zoom-zoom-zoomed via bulk email to Clips subscribers.

Greetings from Clips.

From a New York Times exclusive today comes a chilling expose of a Russian chemist—now defected to the US—who spent several years working with Olympic athletes to gain an edge by using banned substances.

I remember watching Olympics on TV in the 60s and 70s and there were many athletes (usually from Soviet bloc countries like East Germany Bulgaria, Romania, etc.) who were puffed up like the Michelin Man.

And what might Olympic doping have to do with the business of college sports?  Well, advantages developed at the Olympic level could well find their way to the college ranks.  They already have.

Cheating is still going on, but advances in pharmacology have emboldened nefarious officials to encourage cheating with significantly less risk of getting caught.

The Russian urine debacle at the Sochi Olympics in 2014 blew everything up and now there's talk of Russia being banned from the 2018 Winter Olympics in 2018.

Yikes!  This is not fiction.

A New York Times article posted a few hours ago describes a Russian chemist—Grigory Rodchenkov—who kept detailed diaries of the elaborate lengths Russian officials would go to evade detection.

Rodchenkov now lives in the US (of course) in an undisclosed location (of course).

Lest you think this all is fiction, let me remind you that it comes from the New York Times.  And we can believe every word that is printed (posted) in the New York Times.  Right?

I found it fascinating to read this riveting account, and I think you will too.

Have a good Wednesday.

Nick Infante, Clips Editor


Olympic Doping Diaries: 

Chemist’s Notes Bolster Case Against Russia


The International Olympic Committee’s decision next week on how to punish Russia will be informed by diaries seen exclusively by The New York Times.
By Rebecca R. Ruiznov, New York Times, 11-28-17
The chemist has kept a diary most of his life. His daily habit is to record where he went, whom he talked to and what he ate. At the top of each entry, he scrawls his blood pressure.

Two of his hardback journals, each embossed with the calendar year and filled with handwritten notes from a Waterman pen, are now among the critical pieces of evidence that could result in Russia being absent from the next Olympic Games.

The chemist is Grigory Rodchenkov, who spent years helping Russia’s athletes gain an edge by using banned substances. His diaries cataloging 2014 and 2015 — his final years as Russia’s antidoping lab chief before he fled to the United States — provide a new level of detail about Russia’s elaborate cheating at the last Winter Games and the extent to which, he says, the nation’s government and Olympic officials were involved.



Olympic officials will announce their decision on Dec. 5. If they do not bar Russia completely from the coming Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, they are likely to keep all Russian emblems out of the Games: The Russian flag would not fly at the opening and closing ceremony, Russian athletes would compete in neutral uniforms and the Russian anthem would not be played. Such restrictions, Russian officials have said, would be tantamount to an outright ban, and Russia would consider boycotting the 2018 Olympics.


For the following week, as the Sochi Games approached, alongside admirations of his new Samsung smartphone and criticisms of Olympic cafeteria food, Dr. Rodchenkov recorded his frustration that officials had not clearly outlined their plans to transport from Moscow the hundreds of ounces of clean urine that top athletes had for months collected in baby food jars and old soda bottles — urine that was the linchpin to what he repeatedly referred to as "the Sochi plan.”


On Feb. 1, he followed instructions that Mr. Nagornykh, the deputy minister, had given him at the Azimut hotel the night before. Dr. Rodchenkov inspected the building adjacent to his lab, controlled by the Federal Security Service, he said. The stockpiled urine had arrived in Sochi and was surreptitiously stored there, he wrote, but he was maddened that the samples were not sorted by sport or alphabetized by each corresponding athlete’s name.

"Nothing is ready there,” he wrote. "I completed a full inventory.”

On Feb. 3, four days before the Sochi Games began, Dr. Rodchenkov’s preparations culminated with his presentation to Mr. Mutko, the sports minister. In a meeting at Mr. Mutko’s office at the local organizing committee’s headquarters, Dr. Rodchenkov wrote that day, he had handed Mr. Mutko a copy of the "Duchess list,” naming the dozens of Russian Olympians who were ingesting the drug cocktail and would have their incriminating urine swapped out with their prestocked clean urine.


Following multiple investigative reports published last year, Russia’s coordinated cheating has been accepted as fact among top Olympic officials, in spite of a largely defiant response from Russian authorities that has grown fiercer in recent weeks. This fall, Russia criminally charged Rodchenkov with abuse of authority and indicated it would request his extradition. Authorities had previously seized his property in Moscow, where his family remains.

Russian officials have suggested Dr. Rodchenkov acted alone in tampering with more than 100 incriminating urine samples in Sochi, an act which has so far led the global officials to order Russia to return 11 Olympic medals. "One can hardly steal a victory that has already been won,” a Kremlin spokesman said Monday about those disqualifications.


But during the Games, Dr. Rodchenkov documented multiple meals with Mutko and acted with familiarity, according to his daily notes. "I ate Mutko’s grapes,” he wrote on Feb. 17 about a lunch at which he had already eaten sea bass fillet and mutton soup. "Everyone is exhausted.”

Dr. Rodchenkov and his lawyer say the contemporaneous notes make clear he was a foot soldier in a system that was controlled at the highest levels of the state. Documents published Monday by the International Olympic Committee indicate they, too, accept his account.

"Dr. Rodchenkov was telling the truth when he provided explanations of the cover-up scheme he managed,” Olympic officials wrote in the first disciplinary decision related to the Russian doping scandal, justifying a lifetime ban for the 19th Russian athlete so far disciplined for the Sochi schemes.


Dr. Rodchenkov is living in an undisclosed location in the United States under protection by American authorities. His lawyer said Dr. Rodchenkov had been fully cooperative with American and international agencies concerning Russia’s doping program.

"If the I.O.C. fails to act to severely punish this frontal assault on the integrity of the Olympics, it will forever lose the moral authority to punish any cheaters,” said the lawyer, Jim Walden, of the firm Walden, Macht and Haran.

Dr. Rodchenkov told The Times last year that he had recorded the details of his work in Moscow somewhat mindfully, and not on a computer — as his friend Nikita Kamayev, Russia’s former antidoping chief who died suddenly in 2016, had done. It was Mr. Kamayev who gave Dr. Rodchenkov the black and gold Waterman pen he used for his diaries.

Dr. Rodchenkov attributed Mr. Kamayev’s sudden death to his announcement that he was writing a book, from which Dr. Rodchenkov said he tried to dissuade him.

"I told him, I’m not writing with a computer,” Dr. Rodchenkov said in May 2016. "I’m writing with your pen.”




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