Russian sports ministry may sue NYT over doping story

Mexico City: The Russian sports ministry may file a lawsuit against The New York Times, which published a story about the alleged doping abuse by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, deputy minister Yuri Nagornykh has said. "Yes, we are considering a lawsuit," he told TASS on Friday. In an interview with New York Times, published on Thursday, ex-head of Moscow anti-doping laboratory Grigory Rodchenkov claimed that the Russian sports authorities allegedly prepared a special doping programme for national athletes in order to win most of the medals at home Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014. The ex-doping official said some Russian Olympic gold medallists in Sochi took banned substances. The Russian Olympic team finished the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi in the first place with the overall result of 33 won medals (13 gold, 11 silver and 9 bronze medals) surpassing its previous Winter Olympics record of 11 gold medals, set at the 1994 Winter Games in Norway’s Lillehammer. According to the official, Russia never had any doping programme in sports and recent allegations provided in the United States daily New York Times are groundless. "They (US journalists) sent us a list of athletes although we were not asking for it," Nagornykh said in an interview with TASS. "They have asked us to comment on the names of 66 athletes on the list, who were part of the country’s so-called doping programme. "We replied that we never had any such programme," the Russian sports official said. "We had a programme of preparations for the 2014 Olympics and it was strict and concise regarding every single provision," Nagornykh said.  "The programme stipulated set tasks and means to achieve them." Nagornykh noted that the Russian Sports Ministry can only guess what made Rodchenkov say what he said about Russian athletes. "He may be dissatisfied with his current position or have unrealized creative ambitions. It may also be the season, which affects people. We can only guess about the reasons behind Rodchenkov’s statements," Nagornykh said.