FILE - In this Tuesday, May 24, 2016 file photo, Grigory Dudko opens a door for journalists during a visit to Russia's national drug-testing laboratory in Moscow, Russia. Vladimir Putin's spokesman says Russia is "optimistic" ahead of a World Anti-Doping Agency ruling Tuesday Jan. 22, 2019, on whether the country's authorities met demands to turn over lab data. The WADA executive committee reinstated Russia's anti-doping agency in September 2018 on condition the country turned over data from a Moscow laboratory. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)

WADA forgives Russia for tardiness on doping data

January 22, 2019 - 8:50 am

MOSCOW (AP) — The World Anti-Doping Agency forgave Russia on Tuesday for its tardiness in turning over lab data, and then raised the specter of an Olympic ban if that data is found to have been tampered with.

Russia missed a Dec. 31 deadline to comply but WADA said it was satisfied that the files were eventually handed over last week.

"This process was difficult, it has been achieved and I think we've moved forward," WADA president Craig Reedie said. "I'm pleased this degree of progress has been made and that we've moved significantly forward."

WADA is still analyzing what it says are vast amounts of data from lab servers and equipment, data which until recently was sealed off by Russian law enforcement.

In a letter published by WADA on Tuesday, the Compliance Review Committee said it will "very likely" recommend an Olympic ban if it finds evidence the files were tampered with while in Russian state custody.

"If there is evidence of tampering, the CRC has put on record that it will meet immediately, and if tampering is confirmed, will recommend the severest possible sanctions," said Jonathan Taylor, who heads the WADA committee. "This is for information. No decision can or should be made now, but the CRC wants to put that on the record."

In the CRC's letter to WADA, the committee also said it could recommend Russia be barred from hosting world championships in any sport.

Any move to bar Russia from the Olympics entirely could put WADA at odds with the International Olympic Committee.

Last year, the IOC barred the Russian Olympic Committee and Russian flag from the Winter Olympics in South Korea, but still allowed 168 people to compete as "Olympic Athletes from Russia." In a New Year message on Jan. 1, IOC President Thomas Bach said the ROC had "served its sanction."

Earlier Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman said the country had done its utmost to cooperate.

"Our sports authorities have clearly made the maximum effort to arrange the work of the WADA representatives in Moscow, to arrange all the necessary procedures and contacts," Dmitry Peskov said.

Russian law enforcement had sealed off the lab and its data after former director Grigory Rodchenkov testified to WADA that he covered up doping for several years and swapped doped Russian athletes' samples for clean urine during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.


AP Sports Writer Eddie Pells in Denver contributed to this report.


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