will endlessly talk about doping in Russian sports © Getty Images (representational photo)
Vitaly Mutko said Vitaly Stepanov will endlessly talk about doping in Russian sports © Getty Images (representational photo) 

Moscow: Doping accusations against Russian medallists in 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games by Vitaly Stepanov, a former employee of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), are based on speculations, Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko has said. Stepanov earlier claimed that at least four Russian gold medallists in 2014 Sochi Olympics were on steroids, reports Tass. “This will continue for a long time,” Mutko said on Saturday.

“Stepanov is riding his hobby-horse again. He will endlessly talk about doping in Russian sports. This was in the first film (German TV Channel ARD’s documentary entitled Geheimsache Doping – Secret Doping Case) and appeared in later films. All his so-called revelations are based on speculations and are being actively distributed,” he added.

“The Olympics in Sochi have ended a long time ago. Not Russia collected doping tests then, and everything was held under very strict control. I don’t know whether we should endlessly refute Stepanov’s (claims). We will see if there are any legal risks for us, we will think about defense. It’s not the first time,” the sports minister went on.

“Soon our athletes will have to perform at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. It is obvious that someone wants to harm Russian sports. Stepanov has exhausted the topic of doping in athletics, now he has probably started with the Sochi Olympics. What facts does he have, what lists? Why did he decide to make another revelation now? I will repeat myself, it will continue for a long time,” Mutko concluded.

The doping scandal with Russian athletes erupted in December 2014 after the German TV Channel ARD aired a documentary entitled Geheimsache Doping (Secret Doping Case). The documentary said that Russian athletes systematically took banned substances on instructions from their coaches. The main characters in the documentary were athlete Yulia Stepanova and her husband Vitaly Stepanov who used to work for RUSADA. After the documentary was aired by the German TV channel, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) set up a commission to investigate the case.

The WADA independent commission published on November 9 the results of its probe into the activities of the all-Russian Athletics Federation, the Moscow anti-doping laboratory, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) and the Russian sports ministry. The commission accused certain athletes and sports officials of doping abuse and involvement in other activities related to violations of international regulations on performance enhancing substances.

RUSADA and the Moscow anti-doping laboratory subsequently suspended their activities, while WADA’s Board of Founders approved the decision of the agency’s independent commission that RUSADA did not comply with the Code of the international anti-doping organisation. Stepanov said that former head of the Moscow anti-doping laboratory Grigory Rodchenkov told him that Russian Intelligence Officers helped Russian athletes cover for doping use. He also said that Rodchenkov has a “Sochi list” of Russians who competed in the 2014 Winter Olympics on steroids, including at least four gold medal winners.