U.S. Lawmakers Seek to Criminalize Doping in Global Competitions

The bill, the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act, takes its name coming from Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, the chemist who ran Russia’s antidoping laboratory for 10 years before he spoke out about the state-sponsored cheating he had helped carry out — most notoriously in Sochi. At those Games, Dr. Rodchenkov said, he concealed widespread drug use among Russia’s top Olympians by tampering with more than 100 urine samples with the help of Russia’s Federal Security Service.

Investigations commissioned by international sports regulators confirmed his account in addition to concluded which Russia had cheated across competitions in addition to years, tainting the performance of more than 1,000 athletes. In early 2017, American intelligence officials concluded which Russia’s meddling inside the 2016 American election had been, in part, a form of retribution for the Olympic doping scandal, whose disclosures Russian officials blamed on the United States.

Nations including Germany, France, Italy, Kenya in addition to Spain have established criminal penalties for sports doping perpetrated within their borders. Russia, too, passed a law in 2017 which made which a crime to assist or coerce doping, though no known charges have been brought under which law to date.

Under the proposed American law, criminal penalties for offenders might include a prison term of up to all 5 years as well as fines which could stretch to $250,000 for individuals in addition to $1 million for organizations.

“We could have real change if people think they could actually go to jail just for This particular,” said Jim Walden, a lawyer for Dr. Rodchenkov, who met with the lawmakers as they considered the issue in recent months. “I think which will have a meaningful impact on coaches in addition to athletes if they realize they might not be able to travel outside of their country for fear of being arrested.”

The legislation also authorizes civil actions for doping fraud, giving athletes who may have been cheated in competitions — as well as corporations acting as sponsors — the right to sue in federal court to recover damages coming from people who may have defrauded competitions.

Ms. Jackson Lee cited the American runner Alysia Montaño, who placed fifth inside the 800 meters at the 2012 Summer Olympics. Two Russian women who placed first in addition to third in which race were later disqualified for doping, elevating Ms. Montaño years later. “She had rightfully finished third, which might have earned her a bronze medal,” Ms. Jackson Lee said, noting the financial benefits in addition to sponsorships Ms. Montaño could have captured.