“I know I could have changed the past by telling the truth, but would you have told it? You would have been annihilated.” If someone has seen the ‘Icarus’, a documentary that won the Oscar in 2018, they will not have forgotten Grigory rodchenkov. The plump scientist, with huge tinted glasses, Soviet mustache, good-natured face and fascinated by the ‘1984’ of George Orwell, who in his first scene appears in a video call in his underpants with his dog and who (‘spoiler’ alert) in the end ends up dismantling Russia’s state doping system. After going into exile to the US, fearing for his life and with a hard drive with records of all the dirty play of Russian sport, the one who was director of the Moscow anti-doping center for a decade (2005-2015) explains in the book ‘The Rodchenkov affair: how I brought down Putin’s secret doping empire‘how he led his country to sporting glory in Sochi-2014. A plot that will prevent the Russian flag from flying in Tokyo-21 and the Beijing Winter Games-22, although athletes who have never been sanctioned for doping will be able to compete with a neutral flag.
“Rodchenkov should be shot for lying, as Stalin would have done”
“I am one of the reasons why my country won so many Olympic medals between 2004 and 2014, but I was also the cause of its expulsion from the Olympic Movement,” writes the scientist, who is now missing, always guarded by one or two bodyguards and does not leave the house without a bulletproof vest. “I feared for my life, fears that seemed justified when two of my former colleagues, Vyacheslav Sinev, the former head of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), and his successor, Dr. Nikita Kamaev, mysteriously died 11 days apart.” The honorary president of the Russian Olympic Committee, Leonid Tyagachev, declared that “Rodchenkov should be shot for lying, as Stalin would have done.” “During my five years in exile, there have been credible death threats,” says the scientist.
Ben Johnson and the Soviet Boycott of Los Angeles
A former athlete, Rodchenkov saw that he had more of a career in doping. Theoretically it had to be in the fight to avoid it, although it ended up being in its promotion. Ben Johnson’s first positive was in his hands, after the Moscow Goodwill Games, although he did not report on it. In the book he explains how for the Los Angeles Games they planned to set up a laboratory on a ship, but that it was the fear of an avalanche of positives that ended up causing the Soviet boycott. After Russia’s “mediocre results” in Athens, he claimed that “to help the cause of doping (and anti-doping) I would have to become director of the Moscow Anti-Doping Center.” “In Athens, around 400 Russian Olympians had passed pre-departure doping control in Moscow, but they were caught during the Games. When I took office, I promised that no Russian athlete previously tested by my laboratory would be positive at an Olympic Games And so it was for five Games, “he boasts in the book.
The McLaren report
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The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) offered to relocate him and his family in March 2015 to another country in Europe if he collaborated with the investigation. But he declined the offer. Everything would explode months later when WADA called for the suspension of the Russian Athletics Federation, the closure of the Moscow laboratory and accused the Government of that country of organizing a state doping similar to that practiced by the former Soviet Union and the former German Democratic Republic . The McLaren report uncovered that 1,000 Russian athletes would have benefited from Russia’s state doping network between 2011 and 2015. Rodchenko, director of the Moscow laboratory, would have destroyed 1,417 samples of athletes from his country who are likely to hide prohibited substances while agents of the FSB (Russian Federal Security Service, heir to the Soviet KGB) “Supervised” the analysis of the samples.
Both in the documentary and in the book he describes in detail how the biggest fraud in the history of sport, Sochi-2014, had taken place: he, as the head of the laboratory, was in charge of collecting the samples of all the athletes who participated in the Games that they were celebrated in Russia. The urine samples were put into bottles that, once closed, could theoretically no longer be opened without evidence. Through a hole they were passed to an adjoining room where the change was made with urine samples taken from the same athletes in periods when they were clean from doping. A trick that gave him Olympic glory, 33 medals, although short-lived, and that will pay a toll on the next Games, in which the Russian anthem will not sound.
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