03-08-2016 Vigilia Rio 2016; 2016, Russia; Rio De Janeiro;

Canadian doping investigator Dr. Richard McLaren is facing legal action from three Russian cyclists who were prevented from participating in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

The McLaren report was an independent study commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). The findings of the report were announced in July 2016 and found evidence of state sponsored doping in Russia.

As a result of the findings, many Russian athletes were banned from participating in the games including cyclists Kirill Sveshnikov, Dmitry Strakhov and Dmitry Sokolov. The three members of Russia’s men’s team pursuit squad were banned after the McLaren report found positive test results had been covered up.

They believe they were “unfairly implicated”. They took their case the the Court of Arbitration for Sport before the games but lost their appeal. Sveshnikov, Strakhov and Sokolov were not named in the report by the lawsuit they filed in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice allege they, “suffered great reputational harm” and are claiming damages as reported by BBC.

The report had concluded that Russia’s sports ministry directed, controlled and oversaw doping and the manipulation of tests by Russian athletes and officials beginning in 2011. The report alleged over 1,000 athletes benefited from the doping program across as many as 30 sports. As a result, WADA recommended all Russian athletes be banned from the Rio Olympics and the Paralympics. Russia_2016_doping

In the end the International Olympic Committee decided not to impose a blanket ban instead leaving it up to the sports federations to decide whether Russians could compete. It was up to the UCI to decide whether Russian cyclists could participate.

“Together, WADA and Dr. Richard McLaren prevented us from reaching our lifelong goal of participating in the Rio Olympics, the pinnacle of our sport, and we allege that they wrongly associated our names with cheaters and doping,” said Sveshnikov.

“We are asking the court to review all of the evidence and to vindicate us.”

In the end, 271 Russian athletes competed in Rio of the 389 on the original entry list. Russia earned a total of three medals, two silver and one bronze in cycling.

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