MOSCOW: Shock waves have been sent through the Olympic movement by claims from Grigory Rodchenkov, former director of the Moscow anti-doping laboratory, that he provided dozens of Russian athletes with banned substances as part of a state-run doping programme during the Sochi 2014 Winter Games.

The International Olympic Committee responded to the latest allegations, first reported in the New York Times newspaper, as “very worrying.” As many as 15 medal-winners have been implicated.

Rodchenkov, who worked as the director of the laboratory from 2005 to 2015, provided substances such as metenolone, oxandrolone and trenbolone, which were mixed with alcohol.

He said that in order to improve the absorption of the steroids and shorten the detection window, he dissolved the drugs in whisky for male athletes and Martini vermouth for women.

Widespread allegations

Rodchenkov said that bobsleigh star Alexander Zubkov, who won two golds in Sochi; cross-country skier Alexander Legkov, who won a gold and a silver; and Alexander Tretiakov, who won gold in the skeleton competition, were among those to have doped.

Legkov and Zubkov described the claims as “nonsense and slanderous” on Russia’s Match TV channel. Rodchenkov also claimed that the women’s ice hockey team, who were knocked out in the quarter-finals, were doping throughout the competition.

“We were fully equipped, knowledgeable, experienced and perfectly prepared for Sochi like never before,” Rodchenkov said. “It was working like a Swiss watch . . . People are celebrating Olympic champion winners but we are sitting crazy and replacing their urine. Can you imagine how Olympic sport is organised?”

Rodchenkov added that Russian anti-doping experts and members of the FSB, the Russian intelligence service, replaced urine samples containing banned substances of medal winners with clean urine via a shadow laboratory in Sochi

Former World Anti-Doping Agency president Dick Pound said: “He (Rodchenkov) knows where all the bodies are buried. This is as bad as we’ve seen assuming what Rodchenkov says is true and he does have the knowledge of what was going on. That’s pretty bad. He knew what was going on, it’s not just ‘she said, he said’.”

Russia’s sports minister, Vitaly Mutko, described the latest allegations to the Tass news agency as “a continuation of the information attack on Russian sport”.

He added: “The system of organisation of the Olympic Games was completely transparent. Everything was under the control of international experts, from the collection of samples to their analysis.”