KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: Fancy Bears will be disappointed if the Russian hacking operation trawls the health records of footballers from the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Over the past week data has been published regularly concerning the use by Olympic sports stars of therapeutic use exemptions to treat registered health issues.
The hacking has been the latest issue to sour the relationship between the International Olympic Committee and the World Anti-Doping Agency. Confidential data was gleaned from health record files created by WADA for the IOC during the Rio Games this past summer.
The hackers are thought to have used a phishing operation which means, essentially, tricking account holders to reveal their passwords.
Stars named by the Fancy Bears hacking group have included tennis sisters Venus and Serena Williams, cyclists Chris Froome and Sir Bradley Wiggins, United States gymnast Simone Biles and British quadruple distance gold medallist Mo Farah.
According to Prof. Jiri Dvorak, FIFA’s chief medical officer, only a minimal number of the 500-plus players in the men and women’s Olympic football competitions had sought a TUE for the Games.
Dvorak, FIFA’s chief medical since 1994 and chairman of the FIFA Medical Assesment and Research Center, said: “For the Olympic Games, according to our files, we had three TUEs in the men and women’s competitions. So the number was actually quite low and, over the years, it’s always been around the same.
“The most commonly asked TUEs are of course stimulants, for example for adhd, but we really do not have so many in our tournaments and usually then only a small number of requests. Then there are glucocorticosteroids for asthma but this is also extremely seldom.
“It is not a big issue for us.”
The latest release suggests Farah, who completed a second successive Olympic 5,000 and 10,000m double in Rio, had a TUE in October 2008 for the use of triamcinolone – a long-acting synthetic corticosteroid used for the treatment of a number of conditions including eczema, arthritis and allergies.
The 33-year-old also received a TUE in 2014 when he collapsed after training at altitude and was put on a drip.
A spokesperson for Farah said the athlete had “nothing to hide”, adding: “He doesn’t have a problem with this information being released, as evidenced by the fact that he voluntarily shared his blood data with the Sunday Times last year.
“Mo’s medical care is overseen at all times by British Athletics and over the course of his long career he has only ever had two TUEs.”
Fancy Bears has claimed that TUEs are “licenses for doping.”
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