Russia whistleblower says his life is in jeopardy

Russia whistleblower says his life is in jeopardy

Former Russian anti-doping official Grigory Rodchenkov before and after applying a disguise
XXIII Olympic Winter Games
Venue: Pyeongchang, South Korea Dates: 9-25 February
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, Red Button, Connected TVs, BBC Sport website and mobile app.

The whistleblower who made allegations of Russian state-sponsored doping says his “life is in jeopardy” and the Russian government want him to “stop talking”.

Former Russian anti-doping official Grigory Rodchenkov has given his first televised interview in disguise since fleeing to the United States in 2015.

His evidence led to Russia’s ban from the ongoing Winter Olympics.

“The Kremlin want me to stop talking,” he told CBS news show 60 Minutes.

Rodchenkov has dyed his hair and shaved his moustache for “security reasons”, and the disguise applied for the interview was not the same as his usual appearance.

“There is information that my life is in jeopardy and we took all necessary steps,” he told the show.

Rodchenkov added he believes Russian president Vladimir Putin was aware of the doping programme, despite denials from the Kremlin, while Putin has said Rodchenkov is “under the control of American special services”.

“I am not a liar – I was not telling truth in Russia but since coming to United States I am telling the truth now,” said Rodchenkov, who is seen putting on a bulletproof vest during the show.

Putin has previously called for “professional co-operation” with anti-doping bodies.

Russia was banned from Pyeongchang 2018 after Rodchenkov’s claims were investigated, with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) initially giving life bans to 43 athletes involved in the doping programme.

Earlier in February the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) overturned the suspensions of 28 Russian athletes, partially upholding 11 other appeals.

And 168 Russian athletes are competing in South Korea as neutral Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR), having received invites from the IOC for proving they are clean.

Russia won 13 golds to top the medal table at Sochi 2014 and Rodchenkov claims five of those were won by athletes who were doping.

Cross country skier Alexander Legkov, skeleton’s Alexandr Tretiakov and Russia’s two and four-man bobsled teams were all stripped of their gold medals, but Legkov and Tretiakov had their results reinstated on appeal.

‘The plumber was a Russian agent’

Grigory Rodchenkov shows CBS correspondent Scott Pelley the "mousehole" used to exchange urine samples at Sochi 2014

Rodchenkov was the director of Russia’s anti-doping laboratory in Moscow and told the show that the aim was to “win at any cost at world championships and Olympics”.

He added that the laboratory had a “dual” aim as it had to report “1% to 2% of positives” despite its main role being to “protect the Russian national team”.

He also showed how he and his colleagues were able to exchange clean urine for the samples given by doped Russia athletes after their events at Sochi 2014.

He also added that Evgeni Blokhin, an agent of Russia’s intelligence service the FSB, posed as a plumber to gain access to a non-secure room next to the locked doping laboratory, passing the sample bottles through a hole in the wall that was obscured by furniture.

“It was so simple and so effective,” said Rodchenkov.

He claims “genius” experts from the FSB were able to reopen the supposedly tamper-proof bottles to replace the urine. Rodchenkov provided evidence for the McLaren report which found evidence of marks on the bottles from where tools were used to prise them open.

“I never saw how it was done – I saw only the same miracle. The bottle was closed and now the bottle is opened,” he said.

‘The Olympics will never be completely clean’

Rodchenkov told the programme that “human nature” will ensure the Olympics can never be completely clean, adding that “20-plus” countries are currently doping.

“It’s our sins, it has nothing to do with sports,” he said.

“There are 10% or 15% of people who are incorrigibles. You can do nothing. They are cheaters by their natures.”

Rodchenkov also apologised for creating a “big problem” as he believes his formulas and techniques are still being used.

“I am sorry for creating such problem because of my experience and knowledge,” he added.

“Because now it’s effective and working, and it’s not my contribution to fight against doping. Absolutely not.”

Published at Mon, 12 Feb 2018 12:52:13 +0000

'The TMO got it wrong – but it wasn't a try anyway' – Guscott on Six Nations

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Gareth Anscombe’s disallowed try was a huge decision in England’s win over Wales and the television match official Glenn Newman got that call wrong – but it wouldn’t have been a try anyway.

The TMO should have been shown the action frame by frame, which would have revealed the ball was touched down by Wales full-back Anscombe – his fingers brush it before England wing Anthony Watson gets his hands on the ball – so the touchdown is good.

But if he had seen the play frame by frame, he would also have seen the ball hitting Wales winger Steff Evans’ fingers in the build-up – so the try wouldn’t have stood as it was a knock-on.

The TMO has to be given the best information and footage.

Jerry verdict quote

‘We can learn from rugby league’

What the game has to do is give the TMO the best possible shot he can get at making the right decision.

After the game social media started showing footage that he got the Anscombe decision wrong – but it also showed you Steff Evans’ finger bending from the ball hitting it, and then after that the touchdown is good.

The TMO didn’t make a wrong decision with the footage we saw on TV, it wasn’t clear. He worked with what he had, and it only becomes clear and obvious when you go frame by frame.

This decision shows there is still work to be done with how the TMO system operates. We can’t say how the result might have been different if the try had been awarded but we don’t need many more situations like this before we lose faith in the system.

With the video referee in rugby league, decisions happen really quickly. They’ve got it spot on and they rarely make mistakes. It’s very fluid and rugby union should be learning from it.

In rugby league it’s a very slick operation, but in rugby union it feels clunky because of the conversation between the TMO and the referee. They need to work on it.

Ultimately, it’s the referee who makes the decision on the advice of the TMO. But in the game you just have to get on with it; even in football they don’t spend the next 10 minutes going up to the referee.

What does law about grounding say?
A try is scored “by pressing down on the ball with a hand or hands, arm or arms, or the front of the player’s body from waist to neck”.
World Rugby law 21.1 b

Farrell influential for England

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The talking point from England’s victory over Wales is always going to be the try that wasn’t given, but the big difference between the sides was that England took their chances.

Two of the biggest moments came from centre Owen Farrell. He was an influential player on Saturday and made a number of crucial plays.

Farrell’s first touch of the ball was a catch and a perfectly weighted kick for Jonny May’s first try. It was a quick smash and grab that came from nowhere and took everyone by surprise, apart from Farrell and May.

But the try also came from a Danny Care box-kick, and England’s kicking game was better than Wales’ for the whole match.

Care’s box-kicking has improved hugely and it allowed competition for the ball in the air. For the first try, Anthony Watson was able to get into the air off Care’s kick and beat Rhys Patchell to the ball. It got back to Farrell and he produced a delightful, beautifully weighted kick.

Farrell also made a big contribution to May’s second score. In the 25th phase of play, he floated a great ball over to Joe Launchbury, who flicked it back inside for May.

The whole match was a massive game of chess and that was England putting Wales in check, and check again until finally they made it checkmate.

England took their chances – Wales didn’t

Scott Williams

The game was not won in the first 20 minutes, but when you look at the statistics and you see how many times the teams got into their opponent’s 22, you realise how difficult it was to create the opportunities to score.

Rugby union is about momentum. When you have momentum and territory you want to make the most of it. England did that, and Wales didn’t.

Just after the hour mark, Wales had a chance through Scott Williams, but he dived a bit too early and it was a tremendous cover tackle from replacement flanker Sam Underhill.

Williams made up his mind to go himself despite having George North inside him, who could have been in a better position to score. He pinned his colours to his mast and they blew off, unfortunately for him. That was a big call and another big moment in the game.

Over the 80 minutes, England had five opportunities with controlled ball in the 22. And of those five chances, they scored two tries. Wales had six opportunities and got nothing. That was the difference.

England made the most of the chances they had, took their opportunities and Wales didn’t.

Jeremy Guscott was speaking to BBC Sport’s Louise Gwilliam.

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Published at Mon, 12 Feb 2018 12:59:44 +0000