New York Times: 3 top Russian sports officials acknowledge doping incidents
Russian sports official claims NYT "changed" her comments
Times spokeswoman responds: "We are confident in the accuracy of our story"
The acting head of the Russian anti-doping agency RUSADA told CNN Wednesday that The New York Times “changed” what she said in an interview about whether athletes took drugs to enhance their performance at the Sochi Olympics.
Tuesday, the newspaper reported that Russian officials said they were no longer disputing that a doping program existed.
“It was an institutional conspiracy,” the newspaper quoted Anna Antseliovich as saying.
New York Times spokeswoman Danielle Rhoades Ha responded to Antseliovich’s accusation that a reporter misrepresented her words.
“We are confident in the accuracy of our story, which quotes Ms. Antseliovich fairly, accurately and extensively,” she told CNN.
The Times story sparked push-back from Kremlin spokesman Dimitry Peskov. “We categorically deny it,” he said.
Reporter Rebecca R. Ruiz wrote in the article that over several days of interviews with the Times, “Russian officials said they no longer disputed a damning set of facts that detailed a doping program with few, if any, historical precedents.”
A “lab director tampered with urine samples at the Olympics and provided cocktails of performance-enhancing drugs, corrupting some of the world’s most prestigious competitions. Members of the Federal Security Service, a successor to the KGB, broke into sample bottles holding urine. And a deputy sports minister for years ordered cover-ups of top athletes’ use of banned substances,” Ruiz wrote.
Antseliovich told CNN’s Matthew Chance that Ruiz “changed” what she said, and Antseliovich denied admitting that doping in Russia was an institutional conspiracy.
It was actually lawyer Richard McLaren who used the word “institutional” in an interview with the Times, she told CNN.
The World Anti-Doping Agency commissioned McLaren to investigate Russian doping allegations. Antseliovich said she merely welcomed the fact that his language had changed from “state sponsored.”
“From the very start (of the doping scandal) we denied any involvement of the state, state agencies, services or bodies in the possible use of doping by athletes,” Peskov told reporters Wednesday.
Hours after the Times story appeared, RUSADA issued a statement saying Antseliovich’s comments were misrepresented.
“Unfortunately, [NYT reporter] Rebecca Ruiz has taken these words out of context creating an impression that RUSADA’s top management admits an institutional scheme of covering doping in Russia,” the agency said.
“We’d like to stress that RUSADA does not have and cannot have authority to admit or deny such facts. Russia’s Investigative Committee is conducting an investigation into the matter,” the statement added.