- Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted on Tuesday that there were “instances of doping use” by Russian athletes.
- The president also claimed that the issue was widespread and that Russia wasn’t alone.
- The IOC banned Russia from competing in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang because of the doping allegations, which Russia previously denied.
Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted on Tuesday that there were “instances of doping use” by Russian athletes, but claimed the issue was a common practice worldwide. He criticised what he views as the undue scrutiny placed solely on Russia.
CNN reported that in a speech delivered to his supporters in Moscow on Tuesday, Putin said “there were instances of doping use, true – I want the audience to know this and the whole country to know this.”
According to the report, he did not elaborate on the allegations related to the Russian government’s role in the doping practices.
Putin later added: “There are many such examples around the world, but no one is making a big show of it.”
Putin’s statements follow the International Olympic Committee’s confirmation on Monday to allow 169 Russian athletes to compete in next month’s Pyeongchang Olympics. The athletes were found to have no history of doping, and will compete under the neutral title of “Olympic Athletes from Russia,” rather than as a designated Russian team.
The IOC banned Russia from competing in the 2018 Winter Olympics after allegations of state-sponsored doping during the 2014 Sochi Olympics were reported.
Russia has previously denied the allegations.
In a December speech, Putin reportedly said: “We have never had a doping problem in Russia. This is just impossible, unthinkable. We will never do anything like that.”
In November, the federal investigating committee of Russia said in a statement that allegations of widespread sponsored drug-use compiled by the World Anti-Doping Agency “lacked any evidence of Russia’s guilt in the mass use of doping by athletes.”
The World Doping Agency’s allegations stemmed from the McLaren report, an independent assessment released in two parts by professor Richard McLaren, a Canadian attorney who was retained by WADA. The report found evidence of Russia’s systematic subversion of drug-testing during the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
The World Anti-Doping Agency confirmed the details of the McLaren report in November, and found that over 1,000 Russian athletes across 30 sports were involved in state-sponsored performance-enhancement programs between 2012 and 2015.
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