Russia backs retesting of Sochi Olympic doping samples
Former head of testing laboratory says he switched tainted samples for clean ones
Russia says it supports retesting drug test samples from the 2014 Sochi Olympics after accusations it operated a mass doping program at the games.
Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of the Russian anti-doping laboratory, told the New York Times he switched tainted urine samples for clean ones for athletes allegedly identified by the Russian government as being part of a state doping system.
"It all needs to be retested," Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko told the state R-Sport news agency on Saturday. "That's easiest."
It is far from clear how any retesting could work since Rodchenkov told the Times he threw away as many as 100 original samples, or what punishment athletes might face if their samples are found to have been interfered with in the laboratory.
Rodchenkov has offered to assist in retesting, and to identify any samples which may have been tampered with. The International Olympic Committee said on Friday it will discuss the offer with the World Anti-Doping Agency.
Russian officials have denied operating a doping program or influencing the testing, and Mutko's deputy, Yuri Nagornykh, has suggested Russia could sue the Times. Three gold medallists named in the Times report have denied doping.
Mutko suggested on Saturday that, instead of Russia, the IOC and WADA should be facing questions over Rodchenkov's allegations.
"He's a professional, worked for a hundred years in this system. And now he's putting pressure on the whole IOC and WADA system," Mutko said.