The International Olympic Committee jumped into the fray of the Russian doping scandal Tuesday, saying it was prepared to strip medals from any Russian athlete found guilty of doping and was open to retesting samples from the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The IOC also suspended honorary member and former International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) President Lamine Diack, who was placed under investigation by French authorities last week on charges of corruption and money-laundering in relation to a cover-up of Russian doping cases.
The moves from the IOC came after it held an urgent meeting of its executive board through video conference to discuss possible action in response to a massive corruption and cheating scandal, following a World Anti-Doping Agency report that alleged wide-ranging violations from Russian athletes, officials, coaches and institutions. The WADA report, produced by a commission headed by IOC member Dick Pound, recommended suspending Russia from athletic competition, alleging a state-sponsored doping program.
The IAAF is scheduled to decide Friday whether to suspend Russia, which could prevent the country's athletes from participating in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, according to the Associated Press.
"The [IOC] is closely monitoring the situation after the Independent Commission of the [WADA] released its report on 9 November," the IOC said in a statement. "The IOC expects the [IAAF] and WADA to consider all necessary action to be taken to protect the clean athletes and rebuild trust."
The WADA report alleged that the Russian doping materially affected the results of competitions, recommended five athletes and five coaches get lifetime doping bans and said the 2012 London Olympics were “sabotaged” by the “widespread inaction” against Russian athletes with suspicious doping profiles by both the world governing body and the Russian Federation.
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"The IOC has asked the IAAF to initiate disciplinary procedures against all athletes, coaches and officials who have participated in the Olympic Games and are accused of doping in the report of the Independent Commission," the IOC statement said. From there, the IOC would take any actions such as stripping medals or barring coaches and officials from future Olympics.
The IOC said in the same statement that it had decided to confirm the provisional suspension of Senegalese official Diack, which had been recommended by the IOC's Ethics Commission. Diack spent 15 years as a full IOC member, until he became an honorary member in 2014 upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 80. He stepped down in August as IAAF president after 16 years of being in charge of track's governing body.
The IOC noted that it did not have reason to doubt the drug-testing results from the Sochi Olympics, despite the WADA report finding the lab had perhaps been compromised through interference from agents of Russia's FSB intelligence service. The IOC statement said observers at the time noted no such "irregularity" and "nor was any such irregularity reported by the international experts involved, nor found by the IOC itself."
It did leave open the possibility of retesting the Olympic samples, which are saved for 10 years, "should substantial doubts arise."
Earlier Tuesday a top spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin pushed back against the claim that there was a state-sponsored doping program. "As long as there is no evidence, it is difficult to consider the accusations, which appear rather unfounded," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, according to the Associated Press.