Russia Swapped Urine Samples Through 'Mouse Hole': Report

It led to a room full of clean, frozen samples
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 20, 2016 8:11 AM CDT

(Newser) – During the day, it looked like an impenetrable wall. Only under cover of darkness was the small "mouse hole" at ground level uncovered to reveal a passage from Russia's anti-doping lab to a room where clean urine tests sat waiting, frozen. "At a convenient moment, usually around midnight when no one else was in the room," a Russian official passed athletes' dirty urine samples through the hole so they could be replaced with the frozen samples, produced during a short span when athletes had stopped taking a drug cocktail, according to an independent report released Monday, per NPR. The latest details of the doping scheme come from Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of Russia's anti-doping agency, who says about 100 samples were switched during the Sochi Olympics, including those of at least 15 medal winners.

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The samples were given to a Russian intelligence agent "who had a security clearance to enter the laboratory under the guise of being a sewer engineer," the report states. The supposedly tamperproof containers were then opened and the clean urine deposited. In an examination of 11 containers, investigators found all "had scratches and marks on the inside of the bottle caps representative of the use of a tool used to open the cap," the report says. The World Anti-Doping Agency has recommended all Russian athletes be banned from the Rio Olympics as a result. Russia's track and field team has already been prohibited; a decision on its appeal is due Thursday. That decision will determine how the International Olympic Committee proceeds "with regard to a collective ban of Russian athletes," per the Guardian. The IOC has already "started disciplinary actions" against Russian officials. (Read more Russia stories.)

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