Russian athletes Yuliya Stepanova and her husband Vitaly Stepanov fear for their lives after helping WADA expose the Russian doping scandal.
The couple provided significant evidence as the foundation of WADA’s report that was released in November.
Speaking to media on a video conference call on Monday, Stepanova gave a terrifying update of her situation after her ADAMS account, an account used to locate athletes for random drug tests, was hacked. Via USA Today’s Rachel Axon:
“What I would like to say is that if something happens to us, all of you should know it is not an accident,” Stepanova said.
“We are trying to take every measure possible to keep ourselves safe, which is why we moved. At the same time, we realise that if somebody really wanted to do something to us, they would probably succeed. We are very worried about our safety because we have a small child.”
According to Axon, Stepanova and her husband have been living in the US since 2014. They moved again recently after the hack of Stepanova’s ADAMS account. The hack itself represented something scary to Stepanova.
“When we found out that the ADAMS account was hacked in also, that alarmed us a great deal because the only reason someone would hack an ADAMS account is to find out your exact location. I started getting anxious then wondering who needs this information and why, so we decided it would be safer if we relocate.”
Stepanova said WADA is in touch with authorities and investigating.
Stepanova was banned from competing with the Russian team and filed to participate under a neutral flag, which the IOC denied based on her history of doping.
Stepanova and Stepanov remain hopeful that exposing the doping system will bring future change in Russian athletics, but the latest update has them scared.
“I am more frightened now because we have never been hacked before,” she said. “We plan to be together always. But we have made plans with certain people that if something should happen to us for them to take care of our son.”