Story by Ashley Traylor, Staff writer
The German TV and Radio network, part of ARD German Nationwide TV, came to Murray State from Germany to interview the chair of Applied Health Science, Michael Kalinski, on doping in Russia this past April. Russia has now been suspended from international competitions because of the doping allegations.
The International Association of Athletics Federation took action after the publication of an independent World Anti-Doping Agency report that alleged doping.
Hajo Seppelt produced the documentary and its supportive evidence for the World Anti-Doping Agency. The film aired on Nov. 17 in Germany.
Vitaly Stepanov was an employee of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency for three years and advised the director general. It was his dream job to work with the anti-doping agency. His wife, Yuliya Stepanov, is world-class 800-meter runner, currently suspended because of doping.
Vitaly and Yuliya met in 2009 and she opened up to Vitaly about the doping problem. She said her coaches told them that in order to get medals, you need dope. The athletes do not realize the drugs are illegal because coaches have hammered the idea of taking drugs to further results is acceptable.
She also opened up about how her coaches told her to keep clean urine in the fridge if she were to be tested. The drugs could be ordered from home under false names, so the athletes would not be caught.
Vitaly and Yuliya Stepanov came forward with their information to help Seppelt with his documentary to accuse the Russian sports system of using dope.
Yuliya Stepanov secretly made audio and video recordings and made them available to Seppelt.
These recordings proved the involvement of Russian head coach, Alexei Melnikov and the sports physician, Sergey Portugalov, in drug administration and concealment. They refused to answer questions or admit to their involvement.
Many athletes that were found with dope in their system were not accused because of who they were. If the person was famous and capable of winning a medal, then the Russian Anti-Doping Agency would not report it.
On the contrary, if the athlete was not famous, and the test results were positive, then they would be suspended.
Yuliya said the coaches have no problem letting go of an athlete and finding a new one, if he/she was suspended for dope.
The Russian President, Vladimir Putin, must approve urine and blood samples. This was to ensure that no one was caught doing drugs before an athletic championship. However, many athletes with high blood levels were not suspended.
The shadow lab would destroy suspicious test results before sending the official samples to the World Anti-Doping Agency.
The World Anti-Doping Agency’s President, Richard Pound, and World Anti-Doping Agency Director-General, David Howman, saw for the first time the extent of doping in Russia because of Stepanov and Seppelt’s efforts.
The doping allegations could ruin the credibility of Russia’s athletic program and the credibility of the World Anti-Doping Agency.
The World Anti-Doping Agency has agreed to protect those who came forward with information about doping, like the Stepanov family.
Six Russian coaches have been suspended and Russia is not eligible to participate in the Olympic Games.