In the latest documentary from German journalist Hajo Seppelt, a person said to be disgraced doctor Grigory Rodchenkov states he feels no guilt for Russia’s Olympic exclusion, adding that he “fulfilled a very important thing.”
The documentary features an alleged phone interview with Rodchenkov, the former head of the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory who fled Russia in 2015. According to the documentary, Rodchenkov now lives in the US under a witness protection program, in a place without an internet or telephone connection so that his whereabouts cannot be detected.
In the phone interview featured in the program, a person identified as Rodchenkov claimed that the role of Russian President Vladimir Putin in the alleged doping scheme was undeniable.
“I am aware that Putin knows ‘full’ and ‘sharp’ details from Mutko (the former Russian sports minister). And moreover Mutko told me that Putin remember[ed] my name very well in 2011,” he said.
“It was a very simple chain. I am reporting to Nagornykh (the former Russian vice sports minister), Nagornykh reporting to Mutko, Mutko reporting to Putin. Because Putin would like to know everything. And Putin’s approach was: ‘don’t hide your problem, open your problem and threats and we [will] do everything to solve your problems,’” he added.
Later the man believed to be Rodchenkov stresses that the Russian president had nothing to boast of on the international stage, and consequently made the home Olympics in Sochi a tool to demonstrate his power.
“[The] Sochi Games for Russia was a major project for Putin. Because he had nothing to demonstrate, only success in the Olympic Games – that’s it,” he said.
Putin has previously said that information provided by Rodchenkov cannot be treated as trustworthy, suggesting the FBI may be drugging the disgraced former doctor, who faces charges of trafficking highly potent illicit drugs in his home country.
Other Russian officials also doubted Rodchenkov’s psychological stability, taking into account that he spent several months in a psychiatric hospital after being diagnosed with mental disorders.
In the interview, which was released by the German ARD channel on Monday, Rodchenkov allegedly details the doping scheme which he says existed in Russia for many years, adding that the roots originated not from the Sochi Olympics, but rather dated back to Soviet times, when Moscow hosted the 1980 Summer Games.
The 2012 London Games organizers came under fire as well, as Rodchenkov, who claims he personally tampered with doping samples in Sochi, criticized them for poorly overseeing doping control during the Summer Olympics. He alleged that their incompetence led to reanalysis of doping probes which later revealed the presence of banned substances.
Rodchenkov’s initial testimony instigated a massive crackdown against Russia, resulting in numerous bans for Russian athletes, including the entire Paralympic team, who are now prohibited from taking part in the upcoming Winter Games in South Korea.
However, the former doctor says he feels no guilt for Russia’s Olympic exclusion.
“I fulfilled a very important thing in front of the universe. I showed how many problems we still have in sports and doping control. Somebody, someone should tell this, and I’m happy that I was in the center of a doping control scheme and then later I changed everything and I disclosed the conspiracy.”
While testifying against Russian athletes who are trying to overturn their Olympic bans in the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS), Rodchenkov reportedly confused his own evidence which he had provided to the New York Times in May 2016.
In his newly released documentary, Seppelt also lambasts the International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach, who in his view should have banned the entire Russian team from the 2016 Games in Rio, as well as the upcoming PyeongChang Olympics.
Seppelt met several former IOC officials, including honorary member Walter Troger, and the first president of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), Richard Pound, who said that their proposal to impose a blanket ban on Russia was strongly opposed by Bach.
“Sport has a lot to do with politics. Bach plays a key role in the Russia story. He is kowtowing to Russia and Putin,” Troger said.
The German reporter alleged that the doping tests in PyeongChang will not be accurate, after he conducted experiments with the WADA-approved security bottles, which he easily opened after they were sealed.
Seppelt stated that Berlinger AG, a producer of the doping kits, knew about the defects of its bottles but did nothing to prevent potential manipulations.