Grigory Rodchenkov is the former director of the Russian national anti-doping lab, the Anti-Doping Center, and one of the most infamous whistleblowers in history. In 2015, he revealed Russia's system for distributing illegal performance-enhancing substances to its athletes and covering up dirty tests, which led to Russia's ban from the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. Convinced that Russian agents want him killed, he fled to the U.S. in early 2016 and is now in the witness protection program.
Rodchenkov said that he developed a performance-enhancing drug that contained three banned substances, which he administered to Russian athletes before the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The Russians topped the medal count with 33 overall; 13 were gold. This month, Rodchenkov told "60 Minutes" that five of them were won by athletes who were doping.
Rodchenkov also said he oversaw an elaborate cover-up system for the Sochi games — involving secret doors and FSB agents — in which urine samples from athletes who were doping were covertly replaced with clean samples. He alleges that Russian President Vladimir Putin was aware of the lab's machinations.
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After Rodchenkov's revelations, 100 Russian athletes were banned from the Rio Summer Games. The country was stripped of four Sochi gold medals (two were returned on appeal). The International Olympic Committee banned 43 Russian athletes for life (although an arbitration court ultimately overturned 28 bans). And Russia was barred from the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, although 168 athletes who proved they were clean were invited to compete on a neutral team under the Olympic flag.
Why are people talking about Grigory Rodchenkov?
Rodchenkov's name is in the news not just for his connection to the Pyeongyang Games but for the documentary "Icarus," in which he tells his story. It's nominated this year for an Academy Award. The director, Bryan Fogel, helped Rodchenkov initially flee Moscow for Los Angeles.
The Olympics will never be truly clean, and about 20 countries are actively doping, some with techniques Rodchenkov developed, he told "60 Minutes." "I am sorry for creating such problem because of my experience and knowledge," he said. "Because now it's effective and working, and it's not my contribution to fight against doping. Absolutely not."