As the Paralympics continue in earnest, amongst a sea of controversy, the Olympics themselves seem a distant memory for all who watched them. Other interests have taken over, Premier League, Bake Off, X Factor, but amidst everything else that’s taken over our television viewing in the few weeks since the Olympics finished, controversy still rumbles on.
Last week saw the medical records of five British Olympians leaked by Russian hackers, with the records showing that all five Olympians had been given permission to use proscribed drugs. Two of these athletes were cyclists Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome.
The documents revealed that the cyclists had both taken banned substances after being given “Therapeutic Use Exemptions” (TUEs) for their asthma and hay fever.
Eight-time gold medal winner Wiggins was allowed to take a banned triamcinolone acetonide nose spray for hay fever sufferers on numerous occasions between 2008 and 2013, whilst two-time Olympic bronze medallist Froome took steroid prednisolone, a common prescribed drug for asthma sufferers between 2013 and 2014.
In a statement shortly after the leak, Froome said, “I’ve openly discussed my TUEs with the media and have no issues with the leak which confirms my statements… In nine years as a professional, I’ve twice required a TUE for exacerbated asthma, the last time was in 2014.”
Wiggins has also spoken about his asthma in the past. Prior to the Olympics he said, “It’s only a hindrance if you make it one – it does sound quite bad if you are diagnosed with asthma and your natural instinct is to think that’s it. But there is better medicine available now and I am an Olympic champion – the evidence is out there that you can succeed.”
It’s not just British athletes that have been the victims of Russian hackers, as they have also broken into WADA’s database to expose some of the top American Olympic athletes. In the immediate aftermath of the attack, it was deemed to be as revenge for the banning of Russia’s track and field athletes from Rio 2016, something that the Kremlin has strenuously denied.
The Kremlin was furious at the treatment of its Olympic athletes in Rio, with accusations of “double standards” directed at Olympic officials, following their ban whilst American athletes previously found guilty of doping were allowed to compete.
The International Olympic Committee has issued a statement condemning these leaks saying, “we strongly condemn such methods which clearly aim at tarnishing the reputation of clean athletes.”