Two Russian whistleblowers described why they divulged secrets about Russian Athletics doping practices, in Britain’s Sunday Times today. At ground zero is the married couple Vitaly and Yulia Stepanova, who supplied torrid details about corruption to the ARD German broadcaster last November for its documentary.
Further, their experiences and under-cover work fueled the scorching investigative report issued by a WADA independent commission on November 9 that portrayed a system-wide, purposeful Russian sports doping scheme. The defensive Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko recently said that he was “disgusted with the whistleblowers.”
Arising out of seclusion for this interview, they revealed their reasoning and recommendations for Russia sports future.
Suspended for doping violations herself, the runner Yulia colluded with her husband, a past Russian anti-doping agency administration, during a secretive multi-year period. To substantiate their claims about these illegal activities, they produced private recordings of numerous discussions between Russian coaches and athletes about using performance boosting drugs.
“You can have fake values, animal instincts or you can be more human,” said Vitaly. “If this year has proved anything, it is that sports are run by the wrong people. People should know the true story.”
He related an incident where Sergey Portugalov, the chief medical officer for the All-Russian Athletics Federation, took credit for producing numerous gold medalist athletes among several Olympic sports.
While resting on his experiences, and looking ahead, Vitaly proposes that Russian Athletics should be barred from the upcoming 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. “Sports officials and politicians in Russia did a lot worse than what athletes were doing. Learn from your mistakes, change and come back in four years. See you in Tokyo,” he said.
The Russian Athletics Federation has been provisionally suspended by the International Association of Athletics Federations from having its track and field athletes compete in any international competitions. The IAAF will determine this spring whether Russia sports has reformed its anti-doping practices to warrant this ban being lifted.