NEW YORK: The Soviet Union boycotted the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles not out of political retaliation against the United States but because they feared team members failing a high volume of dope tests.

This is the latest claim from Grigory Rodchenkov, the discredited former director of the Moscow laboratory who has been in hiding in the US ever since laying bare details behind the doping cover-up system which has scarred international athletics and the Olympic Games.

Rodchenkov’s claims have been reported by the Mail on Sunday in extracts from one of a sudden rush of books which had been planned and produced to coincide with the run-up to the Tokyo Games this month.

The postponement of the Games until next year came too late for  publication of books such as The Rodchenkov Affair to be similarly delayed.

Rodchenkov, who is believed to be living under a new identity in the US, refuted the standard version of sporting history that the Soviet Union absented its team from Los Angeles in response to the US boycott of the Moscow Games four years earlier.

He wrote: “The Soviets had been planning to hide a doping control laboratory on board a ship in the Port of Los Angeles during the 1984 Olympic Games, after [IOC and US antidoping officials] announced they would be able to detect all — including stanozolol and testosterone — at the LA Games.

“Testing athletes before their departure wouldn’t suffice — the Soviet sports czars had to have their own on-site laboratory in order to ensure that no dirty Soviet athletes made it to the starting lines. When Los Angeles wouldn’t allow our ship to enter the harbour, that was the last straw. The Politburo pulled the plug and boycotted the Olympics entirely.”