Report: Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov backing lawsuit against Russian doping whistleblower

Yahoo Sports

The Russian government hasn’t stopped attacking the credibility of doping whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov since he exposed a state-sponsored doping program that led to the International Olympic Committee banning the country from the PyeongChang Games.

It appears Russian oligarch and Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov is now a part of that. The billionaire is helping finance a defamation lawsuit against Rodchenkov by retired Russian biathletes that had their silver medals from the Sochi Games stripped by the IOC, according to a report from the New York Times.

The three biathletes — Olga Zaytseva, Yana Romanova and Olga Vilukhina — are each reportedly seeking $10 million in damages. All three were banned from future Olympic games by the IOC after having their medals stripped.

As The Times reports it, the lawsuit is a long-shot.

Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov speaks with the media. (AP Photo)
Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov speaks with the media. (AP Photo)

Prokhorov led the Russian biathlon federation during the Sochi Games, so it makes sense he would be leading an attempt to hurt Rodchenkov’s credibility.

Rodchenkov currently resides in the United States at an undisclosed location and under federal protection, fearing for his life after fleeing Russia. He recently apologized for his actions, detailed in the Netflix documentary “Icarus,” which involved running a massive, state-sponsored doping program that included clandestine swapping of urine samples at a World Anti-Doping Agency lab in Sochi.

Rodchenkov’s claims led to independent investigations by WADA and an IOC disciplinary commission that resulted in a total of 13 Russian medals from Sochi being stripped and the country being banned from PyeongChang. Evidence included sample bottles that had clear signs of tampering.

Despite the ban, 168 Russian athletes were allowed to compete in the Games as Olympic Athletes from Russia after being cleared by the IOC as clean, but one of them has already been charged with doping after testing positive for meldonium.

After originally winning 13 gold medals in Sochi, the Olympic Athletes from Russia have won zero gold medals so far in PyeongChang.

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