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Russia’s Doping Scandal Involves at Least 1,000 Athletes, Report Finds

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The second part of a major report into doping in sport has concluded that more than 1,000 Russian athletes benefited from a state-sponsored doping program from 2011 to 2015.

Speaking from a hotel in the central London on Friday morning, Prof. Richard McLaren, a Canadian law professor and sports lawyer, told a news conference that the cover-up was an “institutional conspiracy” that “evolved… and operated on an unprecedented scale.”

He added that the process of state-sponsored doping “evolved and was refined at London 2012, the summer University Games at 2013, the Moscow IAAF World Championships in 2013 and of course Sochi 2014,” the Guardian reports.

The first part of the independent report, commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and published on July 18 2016, claimed Russian athletes routinely used drugs to enhance performance at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, and that top sports officials oversaw an operation to hide the doping.

The report also said that a Moscow laboratory protected Russian athletes during the winter games, which led to renewed calls for Russia to be banned from the 2016 Rio Games. McLaren said tainted urine samples were swapped for clean ones at the laboratory and the Russian Ministry of Sport oversaw the manipulation through a state-directed system.

“An institutional conspiracy existed across summer and winter sports athletes who participated with Russian officials within the Ministry of Sport and its infrastructure… for the purposes of manipulating doping controls,” the opening paragraph of the second report reads. “The summer and winter sports athletes were not acting individually but within an organised infrastructure.”

Following the first report, Putin said in a statement that there was “no place for doping in sport” and that the officials named in the report would be suspended. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev also suspended Deputy Sports Minister Nagornykh, Reuters reported at the time.

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Write to Kate Samuelson at kate.samuelson@time.com