This validation of Rodchenkov’s evidence is likely to undermine the appeal of other Russian athletes as well as play a role in a defamation case against him in the United States by two female biathletes. Her lawsuit is supported by Mikhail D. Prokhorov, the former Brooklyn Nets billionaire who headed the Russian Biathlon Federation before and during the 2014 Sochi Games.
Biathlon was one of the sports that Russia targeted most for medals in Sochi. Several Russian athletes who participated in the Games were already linked to the doping program and those in charge of the global sports federation were evicted after prosecutors in Austria and Norway alleged up to $ 300,000 had been paid for the ones they named Covering up doping violations were carried out by Russian athletes.
The verdict against Ustyugov is also a personal blow to Putin, who had expressed his hope that genetic testing carried out long after the athlete retired would result in his discharge. “I think it will be a very valid argument in this issue,” Russian news agency TASS quoted Putin earlier this year.
However, the court paid little attention to the genetic evidence and agreed with the IBU that it was inadmissible. “The sole arbitrator is unwilling to accept the inclusion of private blood tests performed under unknown circumstances and for unknown purposes for a period of five years since the athlete retired,” the ruling reads.
Instead, the referee said it was unequivocally clear that Ustyugov was part of Rodchenkov’s broader fraud program.
A group of experts found that Ustyugov’s so-called biological athlete pass had an artificial rise in his hemoglobin level before the Vancouver and Sochi Games.
“It is difficult to conclude that the athlete had the benefit of the protection and assistance to artificially enhance their performance through doping and avoid detection,” the ruling reads. “Given the variety of support, its sophistication, and scope, it could only have been reached with a significant degree of orchestration or a joint effort to commit the immediate anti-doping rule violation.”
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