© Copyright – 2021 – Athletics Illustrated

The president of the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) has been forced to resign three months in his new role. This is due to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) decision in the case against the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Russian Government officials are now prohibited from serving on sports bodies until December 2022.

The terms of the CAS ruling affects any WADA Code signatory (or its members) or association of signatories.

Ivanov was elected as the RusAF president on Nov. 30. He was appointed deputy head of the Federal Antimonopoly Service in Russia, which precides over antitrust law.

In December, WADA told RusAF that the reinstatement process will begin as soon as March 2021.

Russia’s ban from international competition was cut in half from four years to two years. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) decided in Dec., after hearing the beleaguered nation’s appeal.

There doesn’t seem to be an end to the Russian doping crisis

Also in Dec., RusAF narrowly avoided permanent banishment from sport. They had failed to pay several million dollars in fines for delaying a special WADA committee from getting access to the Moscow Laboratory mainframe computer, central to the systematic doping.

By mid-2020, apparently, 61 suspect doping samples had been documented by the investigative team. Allegedly many more have been since.

By April, WADA completed 298 Russian athlete tests.

In June 2020, there was the resignation of the then RusAF President Yevgeny Yurchenko after just six months on the job. The reason? RusAF failed to pay a $6-million fine (of $10-million USD) owed to World Athletics.

The fine was levied in lieu of being expelled altogether from World Athletics due to a long trail of corruption to do with alleged extortion, bribe-taking, drug cover-up, and data manipulation to name a few illegal activities that Russia is accused of.

“I hope that the newly elected head of the All-Russian Athletics Federation will be able to move forward in resolving almost five-year difficulties in relations with World Athletics, and will also ensure that sufficient funding is raised for the development of the Federation,” he said.

Last year, Russian athletes who were likely to compete internationally under a neutral flag had written an open letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin. They asked him to intervene in the issue. To no avail.

Later in the year, world champion high jumper Danil Lysenko was up against the possibility of receiving an eight-year ban. This came after Russian officials apparently obstructed an investigation into the world indoor high jump champion.

Russian Anti-Doping Agency’s Yury Ganus told TASS at the time and the Russian news agency that “all steps taken by the previous executive management at the RusAF led to the fact that he would continue performing as an athlete only after an eight-year period.”

In early June 2020, Alexander Shustov received a four-year ban from the Athletics Integrity Unit, which was held up by CAS after testing positive for a banned substance.

There have been a few more suspensions since.

And then there are the storytellers

Internal bloodletting continued where chaos and infighting was killing any remaining civility.

Grigory Rodchenkov published his tell-all book, The Rodchenkov Affair: How I brought Down Putin’s Secret Doping Engine.

He didn’t pull any punches.

At the same time Russian whistleblower Vitaly Stepanov and his athlete wife Yulia Rusanova were the subject of another tell all biographical account of life in Russian sport.

The Russian Affair, according to author David Walsh, is a love story. It is; however, The Russian Affair love story is set to the backdrop of the world’s greatest ever scandal in sport; uninhibited doping and corruption that rots Russian sport to the core.

Icarus, is a documentary by amateur American cyclist, Bryan Fogel, from the first-person perspective, with his plan to dope and beat the system. The film documents just how easy it is for professional athletes to get away with it. But the “stuff” gets real part way through and the documentary takes a sharp left turn into indomitable chaos.

It was about a third of the way in, where we are enjoying a Michael Moore-ish or perhaps Super Size Me type yawner that Rodchenkov gets caught in the middle of the Great Russian doping scandal of modern sporting history – bigger than Ma Junren of China, bigger than Lance, bigger than BALCO.

Much of this started with German broadcaster ARD/TV by way of investigative journalist Hajo Seppelt who cracked the lid on Russian and Kenyan doping. They also dug deeply into the International Association of Athletics Federation issues with former President Lamine Diack and his son Papa Massata Diack.

If WADA, CAS, World Athletics, and the International Olympic Committee think that Russian doping is anywhere near over, they have their heads buried deep in a Moscow snowdrift.