Grigory Rodchenkov, the whistleblower who played a central role in the doping program which led to Russia’s expulsion from the Winter Olympics is afraid of reprisals by agents of the Russian state.
Rodchenkov has been living in hiding in the United States since lifting the lid on the intricate workings of the state-supported scheme to cheat athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
The AFP quoting his lawyer however said the man welcomed the International Olympic Committee’s ban on Wednesday.
Rodchenkov’s lawyer, Jim Walden, told reporters on a conference call Wednesday that the former doping laboratory chief was “proud of the work that the IOC has done”.
Walden said however that Rodchenkov remained concerned for family and friends who remain in Russia, fearing the possibility of reprisals.
Rodchenkov’s opportunity to communicate with the outside world was “very limited”, Walden said, adding that the former drug-testing chief had “good and bad days”.
Two former colleagues of Rodchenkov died suddenly in February 2016, just months after news of the doping scandal first erupted after a bombshell World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report.
Walden meanwhile said Rodchenkov bore no ill-will towards Russia or clean Russian athletes, adding he was motivated only by a desire to see effective anti-doping reforms across world sport.
WADA recently obtained an internal database from Russia’s drug-testing laboratory when the doping program was at its peak.
Walden said the files would allow WADA investigators to “connect the dots” and uncover the true scale of Russian doping.
“We’re now talking about thousands and thousands of dirty samples that were covered up,” Walden said.
“WADA has what it needs to show dirty athletes not just from Sochi, but from Beijing and London and various other types of sporting events.”