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hypocrisy or genuine regret in Russian biathlon?

New story in the Norwegian press this morning - the Russian President Dmitri Medvedev has sent a text message to Swedish biathlete Mattias Nilsson Jr (who commented on his blog about his disgust for the Russian drug cheats) promising that Russia would make a stance against doping in biathlon. As a follow-up to that, the heads of the Russian biathlon team have asked IBU president Besseberg for help in cleaning it up.

Now I can believe a president making an effort to get things changed, it's highly unlikely he had any involvement in encouraging the cheating. But for the heads of an organisation with systematic drug-taking to call for assistance in cleaning up THEIR MESS, that's utter crap. The first (and only) step they can make to cleaning it up is resign in disgrace. These are the same people who screamed their athletes were innocent just a week ago and sent them to Pyeong Chang knowing full well the B-samples would be positive as well. And then wanted to take a petty protest about taking the wrong path in the pursuit (for no advantage at all) because of poor marking by the officials, all the way to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. That's like taking TESCO to the High Court because they sold you a bruised banana while ignoring the fact you were caught during an armed robbery in the same store a week later!

They conducted off-season training camps in remote parts of Russia where WADA officials couldn't get to at short notice. And then the athletes who were caught were busted at the first event of the season. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out what they were up to. The IBU have deliberately been coy about releasing details of the drug and how it was tested (why let the corrupt scientists know what they are capable of?), but I'd like to hear just how many Russian athletes were tested at that first event.

Biathlon needs Russia, they are one of the big nations in the sport. But they have to be firmly dealt with. Team management is behind all the cheating , Russian fans have been leaving death threats on Ole Einar Bjoerndalen and Mattias Nilsson's blogs, and travellig to the Russian World Cup event next month poses a lot of risk for foreign competitors and officials.

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