The report’s most scathing criticism of Russia’s actions was reserved for efforts to fabricate messages in the laboratory’s data system. Those efforts were an attempt to frame the whistle-blower Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of the lab, as being part of a plot to extort athletes who had been caught doping.
“Far from recognizing the opportunity to come clean and draw a line under a scandal that has plagued, and drained resources from, international sport for years, the Russian authorities saw it as an opportunity to fraudulently promote their fabricated defense strategy and mitigate or avoid consequences of the doping scheme,” the report said.
Because of Russia’s manipulation of the data, the panel said, “it will never be possible to know the number of cheating athletes or officials who may have escaped detection.”
The panel also agreed with WADA’s assessment that the scandal was conducted with the full knowledge and involvement of people at the highest levels of the Russian government.
“When the cover-up of the doping scheme began to unravel, the solution adopted by the Russian authorities was not to come clean but rather to double down by seeking to cover up the cover-up,” it said. The report went on to agree with WADA that only the strictest penalties would be sufficient to deter others from attempting a similar schemes.