Russian biathletes accuse Rodchenkov of libel, call him “career criminal”
MOSCOW, February 21 (RAPSI) – The Supreme Court of New York has registered a libel lawsuit filed by Russian biathletes Olga Zaytseva, Yana Romanova and Olga Vilukhina against former Director of the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory and WADA informant Grigory Rodchenkov.
According to the lawsuit, available to RAPSI, statements made by Rodchenkov claiming that the athletes consumed doping are not only “vituperative lies” but also eradicated “the fruits of years and years of rigorous training, separation from families and commitment to excellence” on behalf of the athletes.
In May 2016, The New York Times published an article citing Rodchenkov, who maintained that at least 15 Russian athletes winning gold medals in Sochi were involved in a Russian “doping program” aimed to dominate its home Olympics.
On May18, Professor Richard McLaren from Canada was appointed by WADA to head an investigative team charged with determining the facts with respect to the allegations of manipulation of doping control samples and other allegations made by Rodchenkov.
Later, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) disqualified several Russian athletes, including the plaintiffs, for life and stripped them of their medals as a result of investigation based on findings of Professor McLaren.
The lawsuit characterized Rodchenkov as a “career criminal, liar and a cheater”. The plaintiffs go in detail about the defendant’s past, saying that he admitted to systematic cheating on behalf of numerous athletes and used his position for profit. Also, in 2011, he was suspected of extorting athletes in exchange for concealing positive doping results.
According to the biathletes, they have never failed drug tests. Also, the statements made by Rodchenkov are not true, the lawsuit reads. For example, the defendant’s claim that the April 2013 blood tests implied doping consumption on behalf of the plaintiffs could not be true because at the time they were on vacation and did not pass any tests.
The plaintiffs seek to recover at least $10 million for each athlete from Rodchenkov, plus pre-judgement interest at 9% per annum as well as any other damages and relief deemed proper by the court.