London [UK], Sept. 24 (ANI): US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has urged the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to ban Russia from next year's Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, saying anything less than a total ban would be a "get out of jail free card" that would have terrible consequences for sport.
Travis Tygart, USADA's chief executive, said on Saturday that he was by the fact that the IOC and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) appeared to be paving the way for Russia's inclusion, even though its government was found to have corrupted the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi.
The executive committee of WADA meets in Paris on Sunday and the issue will be high on the list of its priorities.
"Wada should do exactly what they did before Rio and recommend Russia be banned from the Winter Olympic Games for its institutionalised doping and allow neutral athletes from Russia to compete if they show they are clean," Tygart was quoted as saying by the Guardian.
"Anything less is really a 'get out of jail free card' and sends a terrible message that to win you must cheat your way to the top and that it's OK even when you get caught red-handed as long as you are politically powerful," he added.
The USADA's chief executive also expressed concern that WADA did not get in contact former head of Russian Anti-Doping Grigory Rodchenko, who blew the whistle on how the urine samples of Russian medal winners in Sochi were switched, before agreeing to clear 95 of the first 96 cases of suspected doping by Russian athletes.
Earlier, world's leading anti-doping agencies had come together to demand Russia be banned from the 2018 Winter Olympics and to warn the IOC that it must stop paying lip service to the fight against doping.
In strongly worded comments after a meeting in Colorado between 17 anti-doping agencies earlier this month, the organisations also warned the IOC that its continuing reluctance to hold Russia to account for what it called "one of the biggest scandals in sports history" at the Sochi Winter Games in 2014 threatens the future of the Olympic movement.
In July last year, measures against Russia were imposed after the first part of a WADA-commissioned report found evidence of state-sponsored doping.
Russian track and field athletes and weightlifters were banned from competing at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
While the country's 68 track and field athletes were barred from competing in Rio, 271 Russian athletes were earlier given a clean chit to compete in the Brazilian capital. (ANI)