Rodchenkov lawyer: IOC should act to stop attacks on whistleblower
The International Olympic Committee should make it a condition of lifting the suspension of the Russian Olympic Committee that attacks on Grigory Rodchenkov, the doping whistleblower and former Moscow doping laboratory director, stop immediately, his lawyer has said.
Walden told ESPN: “They [the IOC] have the power to lift it or not lift it, based on whether Russia is doing everything they need a compliant country to do, and to say, ‘We expect non-retaliation’, adding that threats against Rodchenkov are “another symptom of the continued denial that there was a state-sponsored doping system.”
Walden said that the IOC had “refused to lift a finger to help him,” and warned that the attacks could force Rodchenkov to stop providing evidence to the authorities.
However, the IOC said that it “categorically denies” refusing to help Rodchenkov, who is in hiding in USA, saying that it had sought special protection for him as a whistleblower, while pointing out that “it is not in its powers to protect witnesses.”
Russian attacks on Rodchenkov, whose evidence formed an important part of the McLaren report into the alleged doping conspiracy, have included Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, suggesting that he was drugged and that his testimony was influenced by US authorities.
Last month, the IOC ruled that selected ‘clean’ Russian athletes can compete in next month's PyeongChang winter Olympic Games, but only under the name ‘Olympic Athlete from Russia’, wearing uniforms bearing this name, and competing under the Olympic flag, with the Olympic anthem to be played at any ceremony.
In the wake of the alleged ‘state-supported’ doping scandal in Russia, the IOC also suspended the Russian Olympic Committee, excluded Vitaly Mutko, the former Russian sports minister, now deputy prime minister, from all future Olympic Games, and suspended Alexander Zhukov, the Russian Olympic Committee president, as an IOC member.
Meanwhile, the IOC has banned 11 more Russian athletes for life after reanalysis of their samples showed that they had committed doping offences at the Sochi 2014 winter Olympics.
Those banned included silver medal-winning lugers Tatyana Ivanova and Albert Demchenko, plus bobsledders, speed skaters and ice hockey players.
The FIS, skiing’s international governing body, last week decided against suspending the Russian Ski Association over the scandal, but warned that it “expects full cooperation and support in the implementation of the IOC Decisions concerning Russian athletes and support personnel.”