Amid an investigation of state-sponsored doping in Russian athletics, and after the suspension of some Russian athletes from the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, an Anti-Doping Management System built for the Olympics was compromised by hackers.
A group known as The Fancy Bears Hacking Group published confidential data from the agency’s website in September. The World Anti-Doping Agency, the 17-year-old regulator of drugs in sports, traced the hacking to the Russian military intelligence agency. The anti-doping agency found that some of the documents published by the hacking group appeared to have been altered.
The initial release of the records of athletes were largely of Americans - including gold medal gymnast Simone Biles and tennis player Venus Williams. The Fancy Bears’ website alleges that the American athletes’ medical records “tell you about the U.S. Olympic team and their dirty methods to win.”
USA Gymnastics said that Biles, who won four gold medals in Rio, "was approved for a therapeutic-use exemption" of certain drugs and "has not broken any drug-testing regulations, "including at the Olympic Games in Rio." None of the athletes named in the hacker’s data have been implicated in wrong doing according to international Olympic officials, even after the release of the confidential records.
The United States Anti-Doping Agency strongly condemned the attempt to smear the reputations of the U.S. athletes. "The cyberbullying of innocent athletes being engaged by these hackers is cowardly and despicable," said chief executive Travis Tygart.
On September 16, the International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach slammed the release of the athlete’s medical records calling it “an unacceptable and outrageous breach of medical confidentiality that attempts to smear innocent athletes who have not committed any doping offense."
Then on October 7, the International Olympic Committee announced that the World Anti-Doping Agency will be the new drug testing authority, highlighting the agency's key role in policing the use of performance enhancing substances in cheating scandals.
Russian officials continue to deny involvement in the hacking of the Anti-Doping Agency’s records and have offered assistance to the agency in its investigation into the intrusion.
The Kremlin’s international media outlets used the leaked information in an attempt to discredit the Anti-Doping Agency, saying the data shows the agency treated Russian athletes different from Americans.
But none of the Russian government accounts provide proof refuting the Agency’s claim that the breach into its database is linked directly to Russia’s military intelligence agency.