By now we've been able to look over in our irreverant, naive and outsider looking in way and come up with a few thoughts about the WADA Independent Commission Reports #1 and #2. I should probably put a disclaimer on anything beyond this point as this is such a big story and probably still mostly untold at this time. The IAAF meltdown rivals the old Enron and banking scandals in our little world of international track and field, the old 'too big to fail', yet it failed. And it failed miserably. It is a story of human frailties in the face of big time athletics and corporate involvement in a world that could throw seemingly endless streams of money around the heads and up the noses of IAAF leadership. The existence of world bodies of anything political, religious, athletic, medical, judicial, humanitarian, agricultural, and military-industrial provides us with an historical litany of corruption, misrepresentation, connivance, deception, theft, and other words of disdain and disgust. And yet we are willingly deceived into subscribing to these organizations of leadership and governance and narcotised into a belief that they are able and willing to look after the best interests of our small spheres of interest.
First, let's take a quick look at the task of the Independent Commission established by WADA.
Dick Pound, Richard McLaren, and Guenther Younger were assigned by WADA as the IC with Pound as chairman. The IC's mandate was to investigate track and field in light of allegations made in December of 2014 by the German television network ARD about doping and cover ups of international track and field athletes in Russia.
Objectives of the IC
To establish breaches of processes or rules (Code of International Standards) by any signatory to the Code including the Russian National Anti Doping Agency (RUSADA) and the IAAF and other National Anti Doping Organizations and Federations. The TV show specifically implicated the Russians.
Also included was any breach by International Standards for Laboratories (ISL) by any accredited laboratory including the one in Moscow. Many countries have their own supposedly respecting the ISL. Kenya may be one of the ones that does not or if they do, is strongly under suspicion. Further mandate of the IC were breaches of rules by athletes, coaches, trainers, doctors, or entourages asssociated with athletes. And to see if there is suffiicient evidence that might lead to sanction processes pursued under the World Anti Doping Code against any individual or organization.
Members of the IC were required to sign a confidentiality agreement upon appointment. This makes me wonder how they could publish a report after doing their work, but apparently they can.
In the IC report #2 a few Russian athletes and coaches and doctors and labs were investigated and recommended for sanctioning from international competition. The IAAF was also a subject of the IC's report.
At the top of the chopping block is the former four time elected president of the IAAF Lamine Diack of Senegal. How this gentleman was able to rise to such a position of power is not explained, and that too would make for good television drama. Nevertheless Diack came into power and saw a weakness in the organizational structure which enabled him to take advantage and enroll two of his sons Papa Massata Diack (PMD) and Khalil Diack (KD) to work outside the chain of command as consultants who handled the recruitment of cities to host various and sundry world championships and recruit corporate sponsors and in so doing rake in a series of favors that would make Bernie Madoff weep. Not only that but these two lads were extremely enterprising in trying to extort money from athletes who had won Olympic medals but whose Athlete Biological Passports (ABP) had indicated an illegal pattern of doping. I mean how could anyone sit on the board of any organization and not see such nepotism for what it was? Had Diack been working out of an office in Dakar, I would think that he would have just solicited bribes up front and treated them as cost of doing business. But here in a European organization of which he found himself the head honcho, he was able to ascertain that weakness in the organization as well as the gullability of Council and create that outside loop in which to insert Papa Massata and Khalil over whom no one had control , except Lamine, to loot would be sponsors for their 'services'. "Sons, I think we just died and went to heaven." We could suppose something like that was conveyed over the Thanksgiving dinner table at the Diack household. "Just don't put your saddle on the wrong horse."
But we should not come down hard soley on the Diack homestead, the report also mentions that Dr. Gabriel Dolle, the Medical Anti-Doping Department Head of IAAF was also gathering a little bit of coinage to line his own pockets. He could always look the other way regarding irregularities in Athete Biological Passports set up to detect blood changes over time for athletes competing at an international level. Samples could get lost or misdirected. Who are we missing now that we have the President and the Anti Doping Director in our little web of deceit? Oh yes, why the Treasurer, a Russian no less. Add to this list a Presidential Legal Advisor, Habib Cisse, and you have a nice little circle of interpersonal contact. That defines the circle of 'interpersonal links' as WADA calls them. That's all you need to usurp the whole organization if the rest of the IAAF Council is only a bunch of glad handers who don't give a shit as long as they get to fly around the world including the groovy spots of Europe to be wined and dined and claim amnesia during their years of service. "Hey , let's not upset the apple cart here , Okay les amis? "
I'm sure the questions we as outsiders all want to know are yet to be answered. One , how much did Seb Coe know? Coe seems to get excused from all this in the reports. And Two, what athletes have been implicated including Kenyans and Ethiopians and Americans or for that matter everybody? We only get eleven names in Report #2. In paragraph 10.5 WADA refers to an extortion by a high up individual in the Russian federation ARAF who demanded and received 300,000 euros to overlook a failed drug test of Lilya Shobukhova, marathoner extraordinaire. It was also reported that under pressure of disclosure of this act of corruption , the money was paid back to Shobukhova through an organization called Black Tidings out of Singapore. I mean this is starting to look like a James Bond scenario.
As to the Ruskkies, the following administrators, coaches, and athletes were recommended for sanctioning based on the IC's findings:
1. Dr. Sergey Nikolaevich Chief of ARAF Medical Commission
2. Alexey Melnikov Senior Coach and Head Coach for Russian Endurance
3. Vladmir Kazarin Russian National Team 800 Coach
4. Viktor Chegin Russian Race Walking Coach
|Savinova, Kazarin, and Poistogva|
IC recommendation Lifetime Ban
6. Anastasiya Bazdyreva 400, 800
8. Kristina Ugarova 1500
9. Tatjana Myazina 800
A number of others were investigated but there was insufficient evidence to recommend sanctioning.
For more reading pleasure, and this is truly worth looking at, you can check out independent testimony by a number of Russian athletes and coaches as to how they were involved in doping and covering their tracks (see Report #2). Report #1 is much longer but the chapters are well defined in the table of contents to lead you where you want to go.
WADA Independent Commission Report #1 Nov. 9, 2015
The more recent WADA report is seen at
WADA Independent Commission Report # 2
Since the general focus of our blog is more on the good old days, we will not dwell too deeply in this unseemly world of modern track and field. However most of our readers' comments in this area reflect their general disgust with the way the world turns in these modern times. We know that doping has been around for a long time going back to the early days of marathoning in the 1900s or even before. But these days it seems to be pandemic, and it casts doubt on everyone not only in our sport but in every sport. GB