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AP Interview: IOC could retest Sochi doping samples

FILE- In this July 30, 2015 file photo, the IOC medical director Richard Budgett speaks to the Associated Press during an interview in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Budgett said the Olympic body "would not hesitate" to retest drug samples from the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi if there is evidence that doping controls were manipulated. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian, File)
May 12, 2016 - 11:42 AM

LONDON - The IOC "would not hesitate" to retest drug samples from the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi if there is evidence that doping controls were manipulated, according to the Olympic body's medical director.

A Russian whistleblower told CBS' "60 Minutes" that four Russian gold medallists from the Sochi Olympics used steroids and Russian security agents worked as doping control officers during the games.

"The IOC will follow up any issues very carefully," medical director Dr. Richard Budgett told The Associated Press. "We did have international experts in the lab monitoring all the testing going on. We made it as secure as we could."

Budgett said the International Olympic Committee has stored all doping samples from Sochi at its lab in Lausanne, Switzerland. The IOC retains Olympic samples for 10 years to allow for reanalysis with improved testing methods.

"We will consider whether reanalysis will help us ascertain if there was any manipulation or not," Budgett said in a telephone interview. "There is no decision on that yet. But if there is evidence of manipulation, we would not hesitate to test."

Normally, the IOC prefers to wait until near the end of the 10-year statute of limitations because it can use the very latest testing techniques, but the Sochi allegations could lead to earlier reanalysis.

The World Anti-Doping Agency announced Tuesday that it is expanding its investigation into doping inside Russian sports. The move came two days after Vitaly Stepanov told "60 Minutes" that he had conversations with the former director of the Moscow anti-doping lab, who told him there was a "Sochi List" that included four champions from the 2014 Games. They were not identified.

Stepanov said the former lab director, Grigory Rodchenkov, told him that agents from Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) acted as doping control officers during the Olympics, which severely compromised the lab's integrity.

WADA President Craig Reedie said the claims "offer real cause for concern, as they contain new allegations regarding attempts to subvert the anti-doping process at the Sochi Games."

WADA had a team of observers in Sochi monitoring the entire doping control process.

Natalya Zhelanova, the anti-doping adviser to Russia's sports minister, said the ministry would co-operate with any WADA investigation.

Budgett, meanwhile, said he had no information to report on the results of retesting of hundreds of samples from the Beijing and London Olympics. The IOC began retesting samples recently to weed out any drug cheats before they compete at the Rio de Janeiro Games in August.

"The process is still ongoing," Budgett said.

Any positive findings could result in retroactive disqualifications and stripping of medals.

News from © The Associated Press, 2016
The Associated Press

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