The director of Russia's anti-doping lab says he used these drugs in 'one of the most elaborate doping ploys in history'

Remember the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi?

Here’s a refresher: Russia dominated. Dozens of Russian athletes, from cross-country skiers to bobsledders, to took home gold medals, leaving other countries — including the US — in the dust during the 2014 Winter Olympics.

It turns out they may have had a little — possibly illegal — help.

The man who recently opened up to The New York Times about it is none other than the director of the country’s antidoping lab — the person in charge of testing athletes’ urine for the presence of performance-enhancing drugs.

The director, Grigory Rodchenkov, claims he came up with a cocktail of banned drugs, gave them to athletes, and then helped swap their tainted urine with clean urine collected months before. The New York Times called it “one of the most elaborate — and successful — doping ploys in sports history.”

Rodchenkov, who has a PhD in analytical chemistry and admits to experimenting on himself, told The Times of the drugs he passed to members of the sports ministry to give to athletes.

They included three anabolic steroids — lab-produced variations of the male sex hormone testosterone and given names like “juice,” “roids,” or “stackers” in the US — dissolved in either whiskey (for men) or vermouth (for women):

Anabolic steroids work by boosting the amount of protein the body makes naturally, which can translate into more muscle and a heftier body weight. But they’re also linked with serious health risks.

Rodchenkov said his formula was exact: For very milliliter of alcohol, he used one milligram of the steroid blend. Rather than just downing the mixture, which would delay the absorption of the drugs until they could crossed the barrier of the stomach, the athletes “were instructed to swish the liquid around in their mouths, under the tongue,” The Times reported.
Typically, the window in which an athlete will do his or her best is fairly small. It takes time for muscles to recover or repair themselves after intense exertion. The drugs were supposed to make that window larger.

Russian athletes took home 33 medals at the Sochi games, including 13 golds. One-third of them were awarded to athletes who are now being accused of receiving Rodchenkov’s cocktail. According to The Times, the names of these athletes are included on a spreadsheet outlining the doping plan that Rodchenkov said was given to him by the Russian government sports ministry.

Russia’s state-run news agency, TASS, is firmly denying the allegations, suggesting The Times investigation is part of an attempt to discredit Russian sports ahead of the upcoming Olympics in Rio de Janeiro this summer. The Olympians implicated as being part of the program are reportedly considering legal action against Rodchenkov.

NOW WATCH: Doing this for 5 minutes every day can help people who suffer from depression

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.