By Richard Thomas
As revealed in the New York Times article on Russia’s continued state-sponsored doping program for its premier athletes, one of the methods used to escape detection was to dissolve steroids into alcohol. This both sped up absorption and narrowed the window of detection.
The booze chosen wasn’t vodka either. For male athletes, it was Chivas Regal, the 12 year old blended Scotch whisky.
Although the Russians deny any wrong-doing and insist the story is merely another Western conspiracy against them, the main source for the article is Grigory Rodchenkov, the ex-director of Russia’s own anti-doping agency. Reportedly 15 athletes who won medals at the Sochi Olympics were engaging in doping.
What made the Sochi Olympics so exceptional was that, because Russia hosted the event, urine and other samples were allegedly tampered with during late testing. This allowed athletes to continue doping right up until the day of the event, instead of stopping once they came under foreign scrutiny. Even so, more Russian athletes tested positive for banned substances at Sochi than from any other country.