Tuesday 26th of March 2019

trying hard to belittle russia...


The International Olympic Committee has ruled on Tuesday to suspend the Russian Olympic Committee immediately. The IOC's decision follows a probe into the country's alleged "systematic doping manipulation."

The International Olympic Committee has ruled on Tuesday that a special commission will select clean Russian athletes who will be able to compete at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea's Pyeongchang.

The IOC has listed the criteria for the sportsmen:

  • Athletes must not have been disqualified or declared ineligible for any Anti-Doping Rule Violation.

  • Athletes must have undergone all the pre-Games targeted tests recommended by the Pre-Games Testing Task Force.

  • Athletes must have undergone any other testing requirements specified by the panel to ensure a level playing field

These clean athletes "will compete with a uniform bearing this name and under the Olympic Flag. The Olympic Anthem will be played in any ceremony."

Thomas Bach, the IOC President, has commented on the decision:

"As an athlete myself, I feel very sorry for all the clean athletes from all NOCs who are suffering from this manipulation [alleged doping]. Working with the IOC Athletes' Commission, we will now look for opportunities to make up for the moments they have missed on the finish line or on the podium."

Thomas Bach said that there was no reason for Russian athletes to boycott Olympic Games.

"An Olympic boycott has never achieved anything. I don't see any reason for a boycott by Russian athletes, because we allow clean Russian athletes to participate and to show that there are clean athletes in Russia. In this way, we think that clean Russian athletes can be about building a bridge into the future of cleaner sport than erection of a new wall between Russia and the Olympic movement."

IOC President also said that the decision was taken without any political influence.

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The Baron de Coubertin would roll in his grave should he hear that last sentence... "the decision was taken without any political influence."


Image at top from a MAD Magazine ("olimpic" super special), mischiefed by Gus Leonisky...


meanwhile, the USA, looking for the russian portaloos...


According to  Lt. Gen. Viktor Sevastyanov, the Commander of the 4th Air and Air Defence Forces Army of the Russian Southern Military District, the interception was carried out only after the US reconnaissance plane flew about 10 kilometers closer to the state border of Russia. The Poseidon was forced to change its trajectory, move away from Russia's airspace, and the Russian fighter jet escorted it as it returned to the base.


Sevastyanov pointed out the professionalism of the Su-30 crew, adding that this was the standard practice of preventing the violation of the air border.

"Our pilots, in actual fact, helped US colleagues avoid an international scandal that would have broken if they violated Russia's state border», Sevastyanov said.

In the wake of the incident, CNN reported citing Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. Michelle Baldanza that Russia's Su-30 had made an "unsafe" intercept of a US P-8A Poseidon maritime, patrol and reconnaissance aircraft.


US European Command Spokesman Juan Martinez explained that the maneuver was dubbed "unsafe" since the Russian jet made a close approach with full afterburners on, while the P-8A was "conducting a routine operation in international airspace."

Speaking to Sputnik about the incident, Vladimir Kozin, a professor at the Russian Academy of Military Sciences, referred to the Pentagon's claims about "unsafe" Russian "behavior" as just "noise."

"There were no dangerous interceptions, and will not be any. Our pilots are responsible people, and understand that any dangerous interception can end badly for both sides. Therefore, instead of raising all this noise, the US military should just stop its provocative flights near our territory," the military expert said.

He added that recently the US has been actively engaged in aerial espionage missions all along Russia's borders and that if Pentagon wants to avoid similar incidents in the future, the US should halt that practice.


The Russian Defense Ministry has noted a major uptick in US and NATO flights near Russian territory in recent months. In mid-November, the Ministry reported that jets were scrambled three times in one week to chase away foreign recon planes. In the seven day period, twelve spy planes were caught approaching Russian airspace, including six on the western borders, three in the Russian Arctic, one on the southwestern flank and two from the east. A week before that, 17 foreign aircraft were reported to be patrolling the border, with Russian planes scrambled twice to intercept. 


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What are the US planes doing there? Looking for evidence of doping in the Russian Vodka?

politically-motivated decision...

The Russian Olympic Team's suspension from the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea is an orchestrated and politically-motivated decision, President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the International Olympic Committee ruled to disqualify the Russian team from participating in the games following a probe into the country's alleged "systematic doping manipulation." According to the IOC, so-called 'clean' Russian athletes that choose to participate must compete under the Olympic Flag, and the Olympic Anthem will play in the event that they receive medals.

Russian President Vladimir Putin voiced his disagreement with the decision. "All of this looks like an absolutely staged and politically motivated decision. We can see it, and for me there is no doubt about it," he said, speaking to workers at an automotive plant in Nizhny Novgorod where he also announced his intention to seek reelection at the upcoming 2018 elections.

As for the terms of the IOC decision, Putin said that it would be up to individual Russian athletes to decide if they would participate as neutral competitors. "We will certainly not declare any boycott. We will not prevent our Olympians from competing if they want to take part as individuals," he said.


Denying claims of the existence of a Russian state-sponsored doping program, Putin said that the testimony of former Moscow anti-doping lab director Grigory Rodchenkov, whose allegations led to investigations which culminated in the IOC's decision, raised more questions than they answered. The final decision was "mainly based on the testimony of a person whose moral and ethical attitudes and psychological state raise many questions," Putin said, without referring to Rodchenkov by name. "Most of the accusations are based on claims which have not been proven and are largely unfounded," he added.

Putin noted that Russia was partially to blame for the situation, and called for anyone actually found guilty of violating the IOC's anti-doping rules to be punished, but added that the body used the allegations in a "dishonest" way to issue a blanket ban against the entire Russian team.


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meanwhile in the beetroot fields of europe...

The EU is expected to extend sanctions against Russia on Thursday, December 21. Since they were introduced in 2014, sanctions as well as Moscow’s food exports ban have been a headache for European farmers, who have repeatedly protested against them. Sputnik takes a look at some of the most remarkable moments from those protests in recent years.

During a meeting of European Union agriculture ministers on January 23, 2017, milk farmers gathered in Brussels to protest against the EU's policies towards the industry. As a consequence of Russian counter-sanctions, the EU's milk industry saw milk prices collapse as a result of the surplus. During the protest, a ton of powdered milk was sprayed against the European Council building.


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 But in the Western media, especially in the English hegemony, you will see a small item that the sanctions against those nasty Ruskies have been extended (to please the US masters)... Little mention will be made of the European farmers' revolts...

The whistleblower who spiked the tests himself...

The whistleblower who exposed the programme, Dr Grigory Rodchenkov, is currently in hiding in the US. Rodchenkov – the former director of Moscow’s anti-doping centre – is the subject of the Netflix documentary Icarus, which was nominated for a Bafta on Tuesday.

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There is no way one can believe Dr Grigory Rodchenkov is telling "the truth" but it makes what is called in the mediocre mass media de shit and the political circles "good copy". As the director of Moscow anti-doping centre if what he says is true, he was the man responsible for deed and should have been charged for the swindles of urine sample — if those were ever performed. There has not been any "corroboration" of his allegations and many Russian athletes are clean, in the same way as competing US athletes are also clean. Russia should be able to sport a team of athletes at these winter games. The whole thing is a political vendetta against Putin for having resisted the US empire — nothing else. 

wada yaddi yadda...


Suggesting that WADA has effectively also become "a platform for IOC critics to assemble," Verbruggen argued that this "obviously" has had a negative impact on the fight against doping. 


"My analysis is readily supported when looking at those that oppose the plans to create a new, non-political and efficient WADA," the sports administrator noted.

Verbruggen also criticized WADA's calls to impose a last minute blanket ban on Russian athletes during the 2016 Rio Summer Games, which he said created a "very problematic situation" because the agency did not follow up its allegations with the timely provision of information it said it had on the alleged Russian violations.

Earlier this month, Fancy Bears released IOC correspondence appearing to show that Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren had been given a "clear political order" to file a report to ensure Russia's expulsion from the 2016 Games.

Last month, the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee suspended the Russian National Olympic Committee over what it said was state-sponsored "systemic manipulation" of the anti-doping system, allowing only 'clean' athletes to compete in the 2018 Games, and only under the neutral Olympic flag. Russian President Vladimir called the decision "politically motivated," adding that it was "mainly based on the testimony of [Grigory Rodchenkov,] a person whose moral and ethical attitudes and psychological state raise many questions."

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no steroid cocktail duchess...

Doping tests of Russian athletes during the Olympic Games in Sochi were transmitted during the day, rather than at night, when they were allegedly replaced, as the WADA informant, ex-head of the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory Grigory Rodchenkov claims, said Svetlana Petrenko, the spokesperson of the Investigative Committee of Russia.

The Russian Investigative Committee has gathered enough evidence to disprove the claim of World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) informant Grigory Rodchenkov’s claims that Russian athletes’ doping samples were swapped, spokeswoman Svetlana Petrenko said on Wednesday.

This information disproves the testimony of Rodchenkov that samples taken from Russian athletes during the Olympic Games in Sochi in 2014 were stored after being collected and  at night were replaced with so-called "clean" samples, so that they would be examined for the presence of illicit drugs after the switch, she told reporters.

READ MORE: WADA, IOC Ruling Against Russia 'Over-Politicized' — Scientific Association

During interrogations of more than 700 athletes, coaches, and medical workers from the Russian national teams and others involved, no one acknowledged that in 2013-2014, when preparing for the competition, the informant had used a "steroid cocktail Duchess."

The Russian investigation remains open for cooperation with foreign competent authorities, public international organizations, including WADA, the International Olympic Committee and FIFA, and also counts on mutual assistance from them, Petrenko added.

In November 2015, after WADA suspended the work of the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory, Grigory Rodchenkov resigned, and in January 2016 he moved to the United States. Later he told the New York Times about the "doping program" in Russia and became an informant to WADA, which was the beginning of a major international scandal.

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It is most likely Grigory Rodchenkov lied for cash...

not pierre de coubertin's deal...

The Fancy Bears hacking group has published a report on its website accusing Canadian national sports organizations of conspiring against Russian athletes at the behest of the country’s government.

The report, called "Canada uses every trick in the book to own the podium," notes that Canada launched the Own the Podium (OTP) program in 2005 after the country's poor performance in the first two Olympic Games the country hosted.

The Canadian Olympic Committee, which funds the program along with the government, according to Fancy Bears, pledged to make Canada the top medal-winning nation at the 2010 Games in Vancouver. That mission was accomplished, but Canada once again failed to crack the top three of the medal count at the London 2012 Games, in Sochi in 2014 and in Rio in 2016.  

Earlier in January, Fancy Bears released IOC letters appearing to show that Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren had been given a "clear political order" to prepare a report so damning it would lead to a ban on Russia's entire team at both the Rio de Janeiro Games and the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Games, without leaving room for athletes to be dealt with individually.


Russian President Vladimir called the decision to ban Russia from the Olympics "politically motivated," adding that it was "mainly based on the testimony of [Grigory Rodchenkov,] a person whose moral and ethical attitudes and psychological state raise many questions."

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coming third...

Canada showed that sending out your best is a winning strategy, easily taking the gold. The United States was third, led by Mirai Nagasu...  


Who was second, I wonder? Ah Russia ! But we are not allowed to say this in our headlines in the USA... Mind you I suppose the Russians had someone called "John Smith" in their non-team?...


Canada Wins at Team Figure Skating Event


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politically motivated competition...

PYEONGCHANG (Sputnik) - The International Olympic Committee commission recommends to lift the disqualification of the Russian Olympic Committee following the analysis of all doping samples of Russian athletes during the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea’s Pyeongchang, Olympic Athlete from Russia Implementation Group Chair Nicole Hoevertsz said.

“The OAR Implementation Group recommends that the suspension of the Russian Olympic Committee not be lifted at the closing ceremony on February 25, 2018, and conditions applying to the OAR delegation remain in place … The Implementation Group recommends lifting the Russian Olympic Committee’s suspension once all results of the doping tests of the OAR athletes during the Olympic Winter Games of Pyeongchang 2018 have been confirmed as negative,” Hoevertsz told the IOC session on Sunday.

She noted that for the purposes of historical files the results and medals earned by the OAR athletes at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games would remain recorded as OAR.


Meanwhile, IOC President Thomas Bach said Sunday that the International Olympic Committee Executive Board has recommended not to remove the suspension of the Russian Olympic Committee until the closing ceremony of the 2018 Winter Games.

“The IOC Executive Board decided not to lift the suspension of the Russian Olympic Committee for the closing ceremony of the Olympic Winter Games Pyeongchang 2018 … The suspension of the ROC is considered to be lifted once the Doping-Free Sport Unit has confirmed that there are no additional anti-doping rules violations by members of the OAR delegation,” Bach told the IOC session.


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the damage is done...

Russian officials plan to sue Grigory Rodchenkov, whose testimony played a key part in the country's Olympic bans, after a sports court rejected his claims. But most believe it's too late to reverse the impact of the doping saga.The scandal over Olympic doping has been running since 2014, and most of the allegations have been known for years. What's changed?

In a landmark ruling in February, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the highest legal authority in such cases, reversed the life bans of 28 Russian sportsmen and gave them back their medals, many of them from the Sochi Olympics in 2014.

But it was only this week that a 160-page summary of the session exposed exactly how the allegations that led to the exclusion of entire Russian teams in various sports from Rio 2016 and PyeongChang 2018 failed to stand up to legal scrutiny.

Who failed to convince?

Between 2005 and 2015, Grigory Rodchenkov headed Moscow's anti-doping testing lab before resigning in the wake of the scandal and eloping to the US, where his words laid the foundation for the portrayal of "state-sponsored" doping in Russia involving athletes, coaches, and officials at all levels. He remains in an American witness protection program and testified via Skype "behind a screen, which concealed the entirety of his upper body save for his forearms and hands" according to CAS.

He maintained that there was a "Sochi plan" designed to pump Russian athletes with performance-enhancing drugs and then swap any contaminated samples for pre-stored urine during the 2014 Games. He also described that he was the inventor of the Duchess Cocktail, a powerful mix of PEDs allegedly distributed to a list of Russian athletes. Many were later excluded from competing on the basis of the Duchess list.

However, when cross-examined, Rodchenkov admitted that he "never: (a) distributed the Duchess Cocktail; (b) seen an athlete take the Duchess Cocktail; (c) witnessed instructions being given to athletes and coaches to use the Duchess Cocktail; (d) seen an athlete give a clean urine sample; or (e) seen an athlete tamper with a doping sample." He also admitted that no test of the effectiveness of the Duchess cocktail was ever conducted, and when asked about its exact make-up, which has been a matter of some contention, he "stated that he needed five minutes to explain, and therefore refrained from doing so."

He also repeated claims that a team of officials, nicknamed "Magicians," had developed a technique for opening tamper-proof sample bottles in order to manipulate them and clear Russian athletes, but added that he personally "never observed first hand any bottles being opened or de-capped" and did not know the "precise method" used by them.

How did the panel respond to Rodchenkov?

The exiled official turned out to be a star witness for the Russian appellants in the case. In its conclusion, it said that his assertion of the guilt of Alexander Legkov, the Sochi gold-winning skier who led the appeal, constituted a "bare assertion which is uncorroborated by any contemporaneous documentary evidence." On the use of Duchess by a specific athlete, which a specific official reportedly told Rodchenkov about, the panel ruled that it is "hearsay" of "very limited" value. As to his claims of a Sochi plan, ahead of which clean urine samples were delivered to him, CAS stated that the witness's words were "not corroborated by any further evidence."

Which other testimony casts doubt on the accusations against Russian athletes?

Richard McLaren, the former head of WADA and author of the eponymous report, whose list of names were used to ban hundreds of competitors, freely admitted that their inclusion did not "mean that they committed an anti-doping rule violation," and that he was "merely asked to identify those who may have benefited from the systems." The Canadian professor added that his report was, in any case, "just the starting point for further work" and was severely restricted by budgetary and time constraints.

In view of questions over Rodchenkov, McLaren was asked if his report was, in essence, based on his single testimony. The expert objected, saying that he sought to "corroborate everything" and explained that the Russian scientist's evidence had been confirmed by "four individuals who provided information on condition that their identities would remain confidential."

What effect has the publication of the court documents had in Russia?

An outburst of righteous fury.

"Rodchenkov has done his dark deed. We have suffered colossal damage," said renowned skater and coach Irina Rodnina, one of those namechecked in the fugitive's accusations. "Since these claims have surfaced we have tried to play by the rules against those without rules."

"Rodchenkov lied about doping in our country, which was to be proved. I recommend that a commission is assembled that would gather all false publications about Russian athletes in the Western media, and sue them for defamation," tweeted Igor Lebedev, the deputy chairman of the Russian Duma.

"It's clear Rodchenkov is mixing up his stories, and his new testimony is evidence that the previous ones were fabrications," said Dmitry Peskov, Vladimir Putin's press secretary.

What has been the reaction in the West?

A polite silence. Aside from specialist websites writing about Olympic sport, no major Western outlet has covered the story.

This is particularly telling in view of the fact that the entire doping scandal was not started by investigators, but German documentary makers from ARD, who managed to create the biggest Olympics upheaval since the fall of the Soviet Union with the help of little more than interviews with two other runaway Russian insiders, the Stepanovs.

Since then, there has been a consistent barrage of accusations, all of them reported without question within the wider context of Moscow's new image of an international rogue state, from Crimea to the US voting booths to the running track.

Just a fortnight ago, Rodchenkov gave an interview to a Norwegian TV station wearing a ski mask and a balaclava, and his words were spread verbatim by dozens of outlets from the New York Times to Fox News.

Only last month, hundreds of millions around the world tuned in to watch Icarus, a film in which he was portrayed as a heroic whistleblower, which won an Oscar for Best Documentary.

The officials have been similarly reticent.

When the original ruling was published, IOC chief Thomas Bach stepped in to say that it was "extremely disappointing and surprising" and demanded that CAS reform itself.

Meanwhile, the American anti-doping agency USADA, which earlier said that the February ruling had "sabotaged the integrity of the Games" despite not being at the CAS hearing and added that "the whole mess stinks" and that "the nightmare for clean athletes continues," has not been quick to retract its statements or turn away from Rodchenkov.

In any case, Russia's anti-doping agency remains under suspension, without accreditation to enter its own testing centers, and although the country will be allowed to compete under its own flag at Tokyo 2020, several of its teams will have limited allocations.

What about the athletes whose names have been cleared?

Legkov told Russian television how he felt when he was forced to miss the Olympics this year despite being cleared, because the IOC chose not to invite any athletes whose names had been linked to doping scandals, regardless of guilt.

"I was preparing for Pyeongchang like a madman, I give it my all. I had better results in tests than even those ahead of Sochi. In a moment all that was ruined," said the skier.

"No one was listening to us. We insisted on our innocence right from the start. But we lost those years of our careers. We trained our whole lives to be able to do this," Maxim Vylegzhanin, who won three silver medals at Sochi and had them restored by the same decision this year, told RT.

What next?

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says that Russia "defend[s] clean athletes," while former sports minister and hockey legend Viacheslav Fetisov said that "now we have a chance of winning our cases in court," as long as "there is a firm position, and facts to back it up." The Russian Luge Federation and several individuals say that they will launch lawsuits, which may mention Rodchenkov by name.

"It's evident that McLaren just took Rodchenkov's words at face value. The CAS decision confirms that now. The guilt of the athletes, if it was present, should have been determined with evidence. This did not happen. We await more legal proceedings," said Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov.

But several top officials say it is too little, too late, not just for those sportspeople who missed the last Olympics, but for Russian sports as a whole.

"This will change nothing," said Nikolay Durmanov, the ex-chief of the Russian anti-doping agency. "Yes we can enjoy some moral satisfaction, but in the eyes of the world Russian sport has been painted a rich black color, and there is nothing we can do to wash that reputational stain off this generation. This was an information war waged against us."

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vast reach of russian doping: zero....

A major revelation in the CAS decision is that Richard McLaren, whose reports have formed the basis for banning Russians from the last two Olympics, has qualitatively changed his claim against Russian athletes.

Last year, the Disciplinary Commission of the International Olympic Committee (IOC DC) issued rulings that 44 Russian athletes were guilty of Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRVs) at the Sochi 2014 Olympics.

Many of these athletes had been preparing intensely for the upcoming PyeongChang Winter Olympics. Some 39 Russian athletes quickly filed appeals to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), claiming their innocence. The hearings proceeded rapidly.

On February 1, 2018, the CAS announced its decisions: they partially upheld 11 appeals and entirely upheld the appeals of the other 28 Russian athletes. The decision rocked the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). IOC President Thomas Bach said the decision was "extremely disappointing and surprising."

A week ago, on April 23, the CAS published the full decisions for the first two of 39 Russian athletes. The documents explain the facts, evidence and reasoning behind the CAS decisions to partially or totally uphold the cases of the Russian athletes. The appeal by Aleksandr Zubkov was partly upheld. Alexander Legkov's appeal was entirely upheld, his Sochi Olympics medals returned and his records reinstated.

McLaren changes his big accusation

The CAS decision revealed that McLaren made qualitative changes to claims made in his reports, which had formed the basis for the Russian bans. In his second report, McLaren concluded: "Over 1,000 Russian athletes competing in summer, winter and Paralympic sport, can be identified as being involved in or benefiting from manipulations to conceal positive doping tests."

This claim featured in news headlines around the world. In the UK, The Guardian story headlined: "McLaren report: more than 1,000 Russian athletes involved in doping conspiracy." The BBC said "Russian doping: McLaren report says more than 1,000 implicated." The New York Times story ran: "Report Shows Vast Reach of Russian Doping: 1,000 Athletes, 30 Sports."

The CAS decision on Alexander Legkov reveals that McLaren has changed his "key finding." As described on page 68, "Prof. McLaren went on to explain that, in this respect, if his investigation obtained evidence that a particular athlete may have benefited from the scheme, then 'It didn't mean that they did benefit. It didn't mean that they committed [an] anti-doping rule violation.'"

Sixteen months ago, international media had headlines stated that over 1,000 Russian athletes benefited from a vast state-run doping conspiracy. Now, McLaren says he did not really mean to say that… he meant that they "may have" benefited.  There is a major difference between saying that someone "might have" committed a crime versus saying they did commit a crime. The former is speculative. The latter requires evidence.

The CAS looked at the evidence rather than simply accepting McLaren's speculations and assertions.

In contrast with IOC President Bach's statement, David Own at Inside the Games believes the CAS arbitrators are to be congratulated. "They seem to have made every effort, most properly in my view, to follow the evidence that was presented to them, while endeavoring to shut out the overheated geopolitical atmosphere still enveloping any issue pertaining to Vladimir Putin's Russia." He says the CAS decisions have helped buttress CAS credibility as an independent, objective and legally fair institution.


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