MONACO — The IOC is prepared to take action against any Russian Olympic athletes or officials involved in doping if allegations of systematic cheating and corruption in the country are proven to be true, IOC President Thomas Bach said Thursday.
Bach met with World Anti-Doping Agency President Craig Reedie to discuss the allegations of Russian doping made on Wednesday by German television channel ARD and French sports daily L’Equipe.
Bach said the International Olympic Committee contacted the ethics commission of the International Association of Athletics Federations, which is investigating allegations of doping in Russian track and field. Reedie said WADA also turned over its own information on Russia to the IAAF panel.
Bach said he asked to be kept informed about any information on "people who may be under the jurisdiction of the IOC." That could be athletes, coaches, doctors, administrators or other personnel who have participated in the Olympics or hold positions in the Olympic movement.
"If, as a result of this inquiry anyone under the jurisdiction of the IOC has committed any anti-doping rule violation, the IOC will act," Bach said in Monaco.
In a separate statement, the IOC said: "These are very serious allegations and the IOC will not hesitate to take all necessary steps."
The IOC has retroactively disqualified athletes and stripped medals in past doping cases. In 2013, the IOC stripped Lance Armstrong of his bronze medal from the 2000 Sydney Olympics after he admitted to doping. The IOC also stores Olympic doping samples for 10 years for retesting.
The ARD documentary appeared to show reigning Olympic 800-meter champion Maria Savinova admitting to using the banned steroid oxandrolone.
ARD and L’Equipe both reported that Liliya Shobukhova, who won the Chicago Marathon three times and the London Marathon once, paid the Russian athletics federation 450,000 euros ($550,000) to cover up her doping. Shobukhova was eventually banned for doping and she said some of the money was refunded.
"Not many people like us, especially among the athletes," RUSADA executive director Nikita Kamaev told Russian news website RBK. "We can get 30 or 40 statements a day from dissatisfied people, but not one of them has yet been able to prove that we were wrong."
The Russian athletics federation held an emergency board meeting on Thursday but did not issue a statement. Repeated attempts to contact the organization for comment were unsuccessful.
Reedie, who is also an IOC vice-president, said WADA was not in a position to take action against Russia’s anti-doping lab or anti-doping agency.
"We don’t have these powers," he said. "The next part of the process is in the hands of the IAAF ethics commission. That’s where we are at the moment."
Reedie said he watched the German program and received a full written English transcript.
"Nobody can be happy when accusations like that are being made," he said.
Reedie said he informed Bach of material that WADA passed on to the IAAF panel "some time ago," indicating the agency already had information about doping in Russia.
Bach downplayed suggestions the latest allegations are another stain on the image of sports and the Olympic movement.
"It’s too early to tell," he said. "It’s allegations. This is serious. But everybody involved has the right that there is a full process, so we wait for this result."
The allegations come as Bach prepares to chair an IOC meeting in Monaco, where members will vote on his 40-point reform program, which includes measures to bolster the anti-doping fight.
Bach said he doesn’t think the doping scandal will overshadow the proceedings.
"There is now an inquiry," he said. "There is no need for further speculation. The reforms are separate from accusations which concern the past."