I.O.C. Chief Says Russia Will Face Sanctions, Despite New Antidoping Efforts


Mr. Bach would not predict the severity of the punishment, citing the continuing work of two Olympic commissions that are scrutinizing the implicated athletes and government officials. Those commissions are taking into account the extensive evidence laid out by Richard McLaren, an investigator who spent much of last year corroborating the testimony of Russia’s former national antidoping lab chief, Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov.

Dr. Rodchenkov set off an international sports scandal ahead of last year’s Rio Olympics by detailing how he and Russia’s Federal Security Service had helped the nation’s Olympians use banned, performance-enhancing steroids throughout the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia.

Russia swept the standings, winning 33 medals — 13 of them gold. While the I.O.C. has opened provisional disciplinary proceedings against some two dozen of those Russian Olympians and stripped medals from many who competed in prior Olympics, no medals from Sochi have been rescinded.

But while those commissions will take into account Russia’s recent reforms, Mr. Bach emphasized this week that punishment is certain. He said he hoped the matter could be resolved by October “at the latest”, as qualifying competitions take place for the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Photo

President Vladimir V. Putin with medal winners from the Russian Olympic team at the 2014 Sochi Games.

Credit
Mikhail Klimentyev/RIA Novosti Kremlin, via Associated Press

“We want to get this done as soon as possible,” Mr. Bach said. “To come to the appropriate sanction, we have to find out how deep this system of manipulation was rooted.”

Late last year, Mr. McLaren concluded that it was impossible to know how far back Russia’s schemes had stretched. He presented evidence directly implicating a deputy sports minister and an antidoping adviser to the ministry, both of whom were dismissed last summer. Dr. Rodchenkov resigned from Russia’s antidoping lab in November 2015 and has been living in an undisclosed location in the United States, where a federal investigation has scrutinized Russia’s sports cheating.

Earlier this month, the Kremlin issued an order that Russia adopt the recommendations of a national antidoping commission appointed by Mr. Putin, seeking to restore Russia’s antidoping authorities, testing lab and professional athletes to good standing.

“We saw on the one hand the president of Russia saying, ‘Yes we had this problem, we have to admit this,’” Mr. Bach said, referring to broad apologies from Mr. Putin, who has denied state-sponsored doping. “You have on the other side some government officials or parliamentarians trying to ignore everything.”

Mr. Bach, who lives in Switzerland, where the Olympics has its headquarters, visited the United States this week as Los Angeles is vying to host the 2024 Summer Games. He is due to meet with Mr. Trump at the White House on Thursday to discuss the Los Angeles bid, a White House official confirmed.

Although Mr. Trump has expressed his support for the bid — including in a phone call with Mr. Bach before Mr. Trump’s inauguration — the two have not previously met in person.

The I.O.C. has faced challenges beyond the doping scandal over the last year. With a number of cities having withdrawn their bids to host the Games, Olympic officials were left with only two cities seeking to host in 2024: Los Angeles and Paris.

Earlier this month, Mr. Bach and fellow Olympic officials approved a proposal to award both the 2024 and 2028 Games at once, which set the stage for each city to win.

On Tuesday, Mr. Bach touched on the range of challenges, acknowledging that the Olympics had recently made a mutual decision to part ways with the longtime American sponsor McDonald’s.

“It is not only the sponsors, it is not only the social media, it is not only the program,” he said, referring to the sports competitions featured in each Olympics, and recent choices to add new events like surfing and skateboarding to appeal to younger audiences. “You have to pull it all together to stay relevant.”

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