KEIR RADNEDGE in ZURICH: The Canadian investigator whose findings threw the Olympic movement into confusion before the Rio 2016 Games has protested at the “smear” of innocent athletes caught up in the hacking of WADA medical records.
Richard McLaren said he was “extremely disappointed” both that records from Olympic stars had been hacked and published and then that they had been “misinterpreted” by the media.
A Russian group known as Fancy Bear [aka Tsar Team (APT28)]has been accused by the World Anti-Doping Agency of using phishing techniques to access an account created for the International Olympic Committee within WADA’s anti-doping administration and management system (ADAMS).
Tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams, United States’ gold medal-winning gymnast Simone Biles and top British cyclists Chris Frome and Sir Bradley Wiggins were among the Olympic stars whose records were hacked and published.
The hackers have complained that these and dozens of other western competitors were doping because, at one stage or another, they had all been granted therapeutic use exemptions.
McLaren, in responding to the hacking at an ethics conference* in Zurich, sought to explain why TUEs had been issued perfectly properly and should not be considered as doping.
He said: “I think it’s extremely disappointing that the hacking occurred and that it’s also been very misunderstood from some of the information that’s been released.
“An athlete who applied for a TUE must do so through the medical procedures established by WADA and must have the support of medical records.
“In order to get one of these TUEs you have to have medical certification that there is no other substance than a prohibited substance that can treat the ailment.
“If that is the case then a prohibited substance is allowed to be used in the context of the terms and conditions of the TUE.
“Releasing the information without that clarification is simply a smear against the athletes because they are entitled to have a TUE and use a prohibited substance because it’s necessary for that the medical condition.
“A lot of information has been completely misinterpreted in the world press.”
McLaren also defended WADA’s electronic storage security.
He said: “I don’t think any organsation – whether it be sport or any other business or government – can really stop hacking if the hackers are determined to get into the system. I don’t think it’s an issue of poor operation by WADA.”
** The 2nd World Summit on Ethics and Leadership was organised by the World Forum for Ethics in Business in cooperation with the International Association for Human Values, Marti Communications and TLEX Ltd at FIFA headquarters in Zurich.
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