Vitaly Mutko, a deputy prime minister of Russia and a former minister of sport, talked to the media about the continuing doping allegations against Russia. Mutko had been the sports minister during London, Sochi and Rio Olympics and he’s been accused of involvement in the state-sanctioned doping. He continues to deny these allegations and claims that the current situation is an attack on Russia.
At a press conference about the doping scandal this week, he, among other things, talked about therapeutic use exemptions. He claimed that one of the foreign gymnasts has been officially diagnosed with 48 conditions and receives multiple medications for it. He doesn’t name the gymnast, but it’s likely he talks either about the London Olympics or the Tokyo Worlds. This claim is almost certainly not true – in addition to the very implausible number – 48 current conditions – there’s the fact that medical information is private and would not be accessible to Mutko legally. However, these kinds of statements show how Russian officials create propaganda for the Russian people and try to present a picture of the “unfair treatment” of Russian athletes.
Mutko on therapeutic use exemptions among foreign athletes:
“I’ll tell you what, if my memory doesn’t betray me, some had 20 therapeutic exemptions at the 2014 Games while some had even 240. What’s to talk about? All the allegations are a way to forget about these problems. We’re talking about it and [they] try to distract us with something else.”
“One famous [Russian] athlete came to me and said: “You know, I feel like I’m defective. I was going to the doping control and there’s another famous [non-Russian] athlete there with his doctor. And he’s warning from the start: if you find this kind of substance, here’s my TUE, if you find that one – here’s another, and he had a whole folder for all kinds of circumstances. And I’m entering the room, healthy as an ox, and thinking: should I maybe change something?””
“They’re all sick. Remember how Vika Komova was nervous before the all-around competition in artistic gymnastics? And another girl was sitting calmly next to her, she had 25 TUEs. They just calmed her down. Vault? Ok, let’s do vault. Bars? Sure, give me bars. No emotions on her face. We’re against hacker attacks, but if you look at this girl’s file, you’ll see tons of interesting things – 48 medical conditions. She’s taking lots of medications.”