Russia Olympic Doping Scandal Potentially Played Role in US Election Hacking

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistJanuary 6, 2017

Russian President Vladimir Putin makes his New Year's address to the nation in Moscow's Kremlin, December 31, 2016. / AFP / Sputnik / Mikhail KLIMENTIEV        (Photo credit should read MIKHAIL KLIMENTIEV/AFP/Getty Images)

The United States has been making intelligence investigations into Russia's hacking during the U.S. presidential election, and the United States National Intelligence Council believes Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the hack in part because he thinks the United States was behind the uncovering of Russian athlete doping.

After the World Anti-Doping Agency's investigation, the International Olympic Committee banned 111 of Russia's 389 listed athletes from the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, including the entire track and field team.         

"Putin publicly pointed to the Panama Papers disclosure and the Olympic doping scandal as US-directed efforts to defame Russia, suggesting he sought to use disclosures to discredit the image of the United States and cast it as hypocritical," the NIC report stated. 

Last July, WADA investigator Richard McLaren issued a report that said the Russian Sports Ministry oversaw the doping of athletes in 28 different sports from 2011 to 2015. He issued a follow-up report in December that found the scandal involved more than 1,000 Russian athletes in 30 sports. 

Anna Antseliovich, the acting director general of Russia's national anti-doping agency, told Rebecca R. Ruiz of the New York Times in December the doping scandal was "an institutional conspiracy."

In September, WADA announced a Russian cyber espionage group hacked its database to collect confidential medical information about athletes. Tom Ley of Deadspin noted the hacked documents showed notable American athletes such as Serena Williams and Elena Delle Donne were taking drugs on the banned substance list, but they had therapeutic use exemptions. 

Russia won 55 medals in Rio after capturing at least 62 in the previous five Summer Olympics.