Editorial: Doping scale is what shocks

By Katie Shevlin

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A report found that 580 positive tests of Russian athletes were covered up across 30 sports between 2011 and 2015. Photo / Andrej Isakovic
A report found that 580 positive tests of Russian athletes were covered up across 30 sports between 2011 and 2015. Photo / Andrej Isakovic

It's a mind-blowing level of corruption, even for Russia. A report commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency has revealed that Russia's sports ministry was involved in the manipulation of urine samples provided by Russian athletes between 2011 and 2015.

The report found 580 positive tests were covered up across 30 sports during that time, which includes the Games in London 2012 and Sochi 2014.

It also claims that Russia decided to cheat after the "very abysmal" medal count of 15 at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics and began making positive drug tests disappear from its anti-doping laboratories in late 2011, even creating a storage bank of clean, frozen urine before the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

There are calls for Russia to be banned from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and I wholeheartedly hope it is. In my opinion, the integrity of the Olympic Games will be seriously compromised if Russian athletes are allowed to compete after this discovery.

It's the scale of the operation that is shocking - this isn't one or two athletes, this is state-sanctioned, systematic doping over several years. Imagine being an athlete that has put blood, sweat and tears into training for four years in order to compete in the Games and to win a medal.

It's heart-wrenching to think that, at London or Sochi, hardworking sportsmen and women may have been robbed of the glory they rightly deserved because Russian officials decided it is acceptable to cheat in order to boost national ego.

I personally don't know how you could stand on that podium and accept a medal knowing that you had an advantage over your competitors. It's not winning.

Obviously there will be some innocent Russian athletes that will lose out if the ban is enforced, and this is unfortunate. But a ban for Russia this summer would send out a message to the world that cheating is simply not acceptable. Glory must be earned, not made in a lab.

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