New evidence of cheating could hurt Russia's chances at 2018 Winter Olympics

David Wharton, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Olympics

Anti-doping authorities said Friday they have come into possession of new intelligence that confirms allegations of widespread cheating at a Russian testing laboratory.

World Anti-Doping Agency officials said they are confident the "enormous" backup computer file they acquired in late October is an information management database -- containing expansive test data -- from the country's central Moscow facility.

The evidence could influence ongoing deliberations about whether Russian athletes should be allowed to compete at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

WADA's long-running investigation has alleged that Russian athletes, coaches and officials participated in systemic cheating.

"This new intelligence serves to reinforce our requirement of Russian authorities that they too publicly accept the outcomes so that we can all move forward in rebuilding public trust and confidence in Russian sport," WADA President Craig Reedie said in a statement.

The announcement came a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed the U.S. for quietly pushing the investigation.

"In response to our alleged interference in their elections, they want to stir up problems during (the upcoming) Russian presidential election," Putin told the TASS news agency.

As a result of the WADA probe, Russia's track athletes have been banned from international competition and many of its athletes in other sports were not allowed to compete at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

WADA said it will share the new information with two investigations being conducted by the International Olympic Committee.

With the IOC leaving the decision to individual sports federations so far, it remains to be seen how many Russians will be eligible for Pyeongchang.

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