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London 2012 marred by 'Russian corruption'

Press Association logoPress Association 9/12/2016 Matt Slater

The London 2012 Olympics were tainted by Russian athletes in the midst of a shocking doping conspiracy, Richard McLaren's investigation has revealed.

The seven-month inquiry, led by Canadian law professor McLaren, into the country's state-run doping program found evidence that more than 1000 Russian athletes in more than 30 Olympic and Paralympic sports were involved in a plot which began at least as early as 2011 and ran until 2015.

In a damning indictment, McLaren explained how the conspiracy started as a response to a poor showing at the 2010 Winter Olympics, was first used to prepare the team for London 2012, refined in response to new anti-doping methods in 2013, before hitting its stride at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi.

The 144-page McLaren report "sharpens the picture and confirms the findings" of his explosive interim report published in July, three weeks before the Rio Olympics.

As well as the report, WADA has provided a searchable database of emails, forensic reports, laboratory tests and spreadsheets totalling more than 1100 items.

Even this, McLaren said was "not the complete picture" as his team was denied access to the Moscow anti-doping laboratory's computer server and the hundreds of athletes' samples still in its freezers.

McLaren said the scheme in operation for London 2012 was based on athletes using a cocktail of steroids mixed with alcohol to limit the detection window, and on the Moscow anti-doping laboratory hiding positive tests by Russian athletes.

"The Russian Olympic team corrupted the London Games on an unprecedented scale, the extent of which will probably never be fully established," he said.

"The desire to win medals superseded their collective moral and ethical compass and Olympic values of fair play."

Russia won 24 gold, 26 silver and 32 bronze medals in London, while no Russian athlete failed a drugs test at the time of the Games.

McLaren, however, has since found evidence that positive samples from 78 athletes, including 15 medallists, simply disappeared. Ten of those medal-winners have been caught in the IOC's retesting of London samples this year, but five remain unpunished.

It is a similar story for the World Athletics Championships in Moscow, where four athletes had had their positive samples swapped for clean ones.

And at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, 12 medal-winning athletes are among those implicated.

Their names, along with the hundreds of others identified by McLaren, have gone to their respective sports federations to start disciplinary proceedings.

Meanwhile, Chinese swimmer Xinyi Chen has been banned for two years by FINA for failing a drugs test at the Rio Games.

The 18-year-old, who finished fourth in the women's 100m butterfly, tested positive for banned substance Hydrochlorothiazide - an illicit masking agent - and accepted a provisional ban at the time.

That suspension has been confirmed by swimming's governing body with Chen unable to compet until August 2018, while the FINA doping panel also upheld the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) panel decision to scrub out her results in Rio.

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