>> A decisive day for Russian sports on Wednesday. Tennis superstar Maria Sharapova, attending an anti doping hearing in London, as her fellow countrymen come under the spotlight for similar allegations. The Olympic Committee announcing it would look into allegations of Russian doping at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games. If proven to be true, the IOC says it would show an unprecedented level of criminality.
Reuters Jonathan Crane says it was a New York Times article that brought these allegations to light.>> So when WADA released its first report back in November, we became aware of this state sponsored doping, as they called it, in Russia. This whole culture of destroying samples and covering up positive doping tests.
But we didn't have any idea of the detail, and this is what this New York Times article has basically done. It's really shone a light on what exactly happened. We heard about shadow laboratories, officials creeping in at night, swapping samples through a hole in the wall. So effectively, what they had was the dirty samples swapped with clean samples of urine that they knew were clean.
Athletes having taken photos of the sample to show the identification number so officials could swap it.>> As for Sharapova, the five times Grand Slam Champion could face a four year ban from the sport.>> Sharapova will say, for start, I didn't know that this was on the banned list.
It was ony introduced in the start of this year. And she will also say that she was taking it on the advice of a doctor for health reasons. Now the other thing that could go in her favor though, we don't quite know when she stopped taking the drug.
She hasn't said that. It's that the manufacturer, the Latvian manufacturer, says the drug could still stay in the system for several months after it's taken. And WADA has already admitted, the World Anti-Doping Agency that that could be a mitigating factor. And they could face a load of appeals from the hundreds of athletes who have tested positive for Meldonium this year for their possible bans to be overturned.
>> The U.S. Justice Department announcing its own investigation into Russian doping, adding fuel to Moscow's fear of being left out of the Olympics and to its conviction of a widespread Western conspiracy against Russian sport.