“Today’s decision by the International Olympic Committee sends a powerful message that it will not tolerate state-sponsored cheating by any nation. As the world has seen, Dr. Rodchenkov provided credible and irrefutable evidence of the Russian state-sponsored doping system, which was ultimately supervised and financed by then-Minister of Sports Vitaly Mutko and other high-level government officials. Now, WADA and two IOC disciplinary commissions have fully confirmed the accuracy of Dr. Rodchenkov’s account. Russia’s consistent denials lack any credibility, and its failure to produce all evidence in its possession only further confirms its high-level complicity. The decision to bar Russia’s official participation in the Winter Olympics makes abundantly clear to Russia, and all countries, that there are serious consequences for flouting the rules of the international community. Moreover, the IOC’s decision to ban Vitaly Mutko and Yury Nagornykh specifically is wholly appropriate, especially given their direct involvement in supervising and financing the state-sponsored doping system, as well as the Russian Federation’s false denials, refusal to cooperate, and threat and retaliation against Dr. Rodchenkov.
“Dr. Rodchenkov personally agrees with the IOC’s determination that innocent athletes should compete as neutrals. However, he believes a finding of “innocence” should have a strict meaning to protect all clean athletes: “innocent” should mean athletes (a) against whom WADA possesses no evidence of complicity (including against the coach); (b) who have no prior anti-doping rule violations; and (c) who test clean in pre-competition testing by independent testing authorities.”