On December 9, 2016, the World Anti-Doping Agency details a vast “institutional conspiracy” involving Russian officials and more than 1,000 athletes in systematic doping at major athletic competitions, including the Olympics. A second WADA report says the conspiracy involves the Russian Sports Ministry, national anti-doping agency and the FSB intelligence service and that the cheating and cover-ups were on an “unprecedented scale” from 2011-15.
“For years, international sports competitions have been knowingly hijacked by the Russians,” a WADA investigator told reporters. “Coaches and athletes have been playing on an uneven field. Sports fans and spectators have been deceived.”
After an initial investigation in July, a second investigation implicated more than 1,000 athletes, many of whom competed at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
When McLaren’s findings were revealed, the Russians cried foul.
“This is what we expected,” said Dmitry Svishchev, head of Russia’s curling federation. “There’s nothing new, only empty allegations against all of us. If you are Russian, you’ll get accused of every single sin.”
WADA aimed to bar Russia from all world sports championships for the state-sponsored scheme. In 2019, Russia was hit with a four-year ban for the doping programs. But the ban was later reduced to two years. At the Summer Olympics in Tokyo in 2021, Russian athletes were ordered to compete in unmarked uniforms without the country’s flag.