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Available Expert - Doping in sports and the Russian track team

Friday, June 17, 2016

Queen's University sports historian Geoffrey Smith is available to comment on this morning's announcement from the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) regarding the possible re-instatement of the Russian Track and Field team in advance of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. In November 2015, following allegations of widespread doping, the Russian team accepted a suspension from IAAF events. Should the association decide not to lift the suspension, the Russian team would be barred from competing in Rio, unless an exemption is made for individual athletes with no history of doping infractions. 

"Whether the Russians are banned from Rio or merely disciplined, the fact remains that Russia - like other former Soviet bloc countries before it - remains committed to a state policy at odds with the Olympic ideal," says Dr. Smith. "Big Pharma rules the sports world."

The decision comes at the end of a week that has been rife with doping news, including Australian race walker Jared Tallent retroactively receiving gold for the London 2012 50 km event after Russian competitor Sergey Kirdyapkin was stripped of the medal. As well, 10 medalists from the London 2012 Olympics were suspended after reanalysis of their drug tests -  including Men's 105kg gold medalist Ilya Ilyin.

To arrange an interview, please contact communications officer Chris Armes (613-533-6000 ext. 77513 or chris.armes@queensu.ca) at Queen’s University News and Media Services Department in Kingston, Ont., Canada.

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