×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Attorney for Russian ‘Icarus’ Whistleblower Blasts Olympic Anti-Doping Effort

WASHINGTON — The attorney for the Russian whistleblower featured in Bryan Fogel’s Oscar-nominated movieIcarus” is blasting the International Olympic Committee for not taking harsher measures against Russia for the state-sanctioned use of performance enhancing drugs by its athletes.

Jim Walden, the attorney for Grigory Rodchenkov, who is at the center of “Icarus,” spoke to the Helsinki Commission on Capitol Hill and said the IOC’s ban on Russian participation in the recent Winter Olympics was “hardly a slap on the wrist.”

“In reality, it was a PR stunt — a sham,” he said last week. “After all, Russia has now fielded one of its largest teams at the ongoing Olympics in Pyeongchang. They are permitted to compete not as neutral athletes but in uniforms bearing Russia’s name.”

Rodchenkov served as the director of the Moscow Anti-Doping Center, tasked with ensuring compliance with the World Anti-Doping Agency. In fact, he was “ordered by his Kremlin bosses” to assist in “an elaborate system to allow Russia’s athletes to cheat in international competitions, including the Olympics,” Walden said.

In the movie, Rodchenkov works with Fogel on his effort to use performance enhancing drugs as a way to show how Lance Armstrong evaded detection for so long. But, as “Icarus” unfolds, Rodchenkov becomes the center of the anti-doping scandal.

Rodchenkov is now in hiding in the United States, given the threats from Russia, which has denied the claims.

“Russian officials have harassed his family, confiscated his property, and even declared that he should be ‘shot as Stalin would have done,'” Walden said in his testimony. “To discredit Dr. Rodchenkov, even Russian President Vladimir Putin has gotten in the game, accusing the FBI of ‘drugging’ Dr. Rodchenkov to elicit false testimony while, at the same time, calling Dr. Rodchenkov an ‘imbecile’ and ‘mentally unstable.'”

Rodchenkov was sued for defamation last week in New York by a group of Russian athletes, in a lawsuit that is being backed by Mikhail D. Prokhorov, who owns the Brooklyn Nets, the New York Times reported.

“The IOC has stood by and watched this abhorrent conduct against its main witness without taking any action at all,” Walden said in his appearance before the commission. “Did this embolden Russia? You tell me. Russia reacted by also retaliating directly against the IOC and WADA. They hacked the IOC’s and WADA’s computers, disclosed confidential documents, and even threatened to bring sanctions against IOC members and WADA executives.”

He continued, “No one can seriously argue that this cowardly and ineffective response by the IOC is appropriate, will deter future cheating, or is fair to clean athletes, Olympic sponsors, or fans. No one can seriously argue that the IOC’s self-policing system works at all.”

Walden called on Congress to pass legislation to add criminal penalties for doping. He said a statute could be similar to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which sanctions foreign government officials for actions that impact U.S. businesses.

The commission is an independent agency that includes members of the House and the Senate, and it monitors human rights and international cooperation in Europe.

A spokesman for the IOC did not return a request for comment.

Fogel, above, appeared on Variety‘s “PopPolitics” on SiriusXM last year. His interview is below:

More Politics

  • Nancy Pelosi Swearing In

    Nancy Pelosi Suggests to Trump That State of the Union Be Delayed

    WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is suggesting to President Donald Trump that his planned State of the Union address, scheduled for Jan. 29, be delayed or that it be delivered in writing. Pelosi cited the government shutdown and the fact that the two agencies tasked with security and planning, the Secret Service and the [...]

  • L.A. Teachers' Strike: Hollywood Studios, Unions

    Hollywood Studios, Unions Support Parents and Educators as L.A. Teachers' Strike Rages

    Hollywood unions and entertainment companies have stepped up to support the 31,000 Los Angeles teachers in the second day of a massive strike that’s affected nearly half a million students. More than 50 SAG-AFTRA members picketed at a Tuesday afternoon rally in the driving rain next to the Hollywood & Highland Center with secretary-treasurer Jane [...]

  • Kirsten Gillibrand

    Kirsten Gillibrand Tells Stephen Colbert She's Forming 2020 Exploratory Committee

    WASHINGTON — Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) told Stephen Colbert on Tuesday’s “Late Show” that she was forming a presidential exploratory committee, the latest Democrat to move toward a bid for the White House. Gillibrand chose to make the announcement on Colbert’s show, reflecting the influence and national reach of the late night host. He’s become [...]

  • Editorial use only. MANDATORY CREDIT: PARLIAMENTARY

    British Lawmakers Reject Prime Minister's Brexit Plan, Heightening Uncertainty

    British lawmakers have resoundingly rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s terms for the U.K.’s withdrawal from the European Union, heightening the country’s sense of uncertainty and paralysis less than two months before the exit is supposed to take effect. Parliament rejected May’s Brexit plan by a 432-202-vote Tuesday evening, one of the biggest parliamentary defeats in [...]

  • William Barr

    Attorney General Nominee William Barr Says He'll Look at Antitrust Impact on Tech Giants

    WASHINGTON — William Barr, President Donald Trump’s nominee for the next attorney general, said that it was “more important” that the Department of Justice get involved in questions of how effective antitrust enforcers have been in protecting competition amid the growth of tech giants. “I would like to weigh in on some of these issues,” [...]

  • Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

    Kirsten Gillibrand to Guest on 'Colbert' as She Moves Toward Presidential Run

    WASHINGTON — Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) will be a guest on “Late Show With Stephen Colbert” on Tuesday, leading to speculation that she will use the platform to announce that she is forming a presidential exploratory committee. To announce on “Late Show” would be a bit unusual, as campaigns have usually debuted with carefully scripted [...]

  • Donald Trump

    Trump Gives Jeff Bezos a Nickname, Praises National Enquirer

    WASHINGTON — When President Donald Trump called Amazon founder Jeff Bezos “Jeff Bozo” in a Sunday evening tweet, it quickly triggered more amazement at the extent to which he’s changed the nature of presidential discourse. And not for the better. So sorry to hear the news about Jeff Bozo being taken down by a competitor [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content