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U.S. Olympic athletes urge expansion of Russian probe


LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 27: Maria Sharapova of the Russia Olympic tennis team carries her country’s flag during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

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U.S. Olympic athletes have sent a letter to leaders of the International Olympic Committee and World Anti-Doping Agency urging them to expand the investigation into Russian doping to sports beyond track and field.

The letter came in response to the two-part report detailing doping inside Russia’s track team, the sport’s international governing body and allegations the government participated in the fraud.

The letter, sent to IOC president Thomas Bach and WADA president Craig Reedie and obtained by The Associated Press, said that while other sports federations might do their own inquiries, WADA and the IOC should take the lead to make sure all Russian sports are investigated.

“With evidence of state-supported doping across the whole of sport in Russia, with a corrupt and ineffective ... testing system, and with athletes and insiders coming forward at great personal risk, now is exactly the time to investigate thoroughly,” the letter said. “The clean sport movement is at a crossroads. The athletes of the world are watching and waiting.”

The letter was signed by Sarah Konrad, an Olympic biathlete and cross-country skier who is chair of the U.S. Olympic Committee advisory council. The council, which represents 57 Olympics sports, ratified the letter last weekend.

WADA and the IOC did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In his reports, Dick Pound, who led the WADA independent commission into the Russian doping, made mention of violations that could spread into sports outside track. But he made no recommendations because he was tasked to specifically look at athletics.

Since his report, WADA has placed Russia’s anti-doping agency under suspension and track’s governing body, the IAAF, is undergoing top-to-bottom changes in its governance and anti-doping program.

But since the first report was released, there has been a steady stream of requests for the inquiry to be expanded beyond track.

One vocal proponent was Beckie Scott, the Canadian Olympian who is on WADA’s foundation board. At its meeting in November, she urged such action. Reedie said expanding the investigation was something the agency needs to consider, but it has to figure out how to pay for it. WADA has an annual budget of about $26 million, half provided by the IOC.