In light of recent allegations, Russia has committed to further compliance with the World Anti-Doping Agency. Outside of the country, though, pressure for sanctions is growing.
In response to a damningreport released Monday by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)
accusing the country of the "state-sponsored" doping of its track and field athletes, Russia's sports ministry pledged closer cooperation with the oversight body - from which it claims never to have strayed far from to begin with.
"Russia has been and will be fully committed to the fight against doping in sport," the ministry said in a statement Tuesday. It claims that Russian athletic authorities have done "a lot of work" and that the report's "recommendations will help Russia in further improving its anti-doping systems."
Initial statements accredited to Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko shortly after the report was made public expressed a far less conciliatory tone. He resented that Russia had been singled out and threatened to halt all anti-doping measures.
Downplaying and denial
The allegations of widespread wrongdoing threaten to become one of the largest such scandals in the sports world, not long after being shaken by revelations of corruption within soccer's governing body FIFA.
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) - the governing body of world sports -demanded a response from Russia
on Monday, before taking any action of its own.
In one instance, the WADA report claimed that its accredited laboratory in Moscow destroyed over 1,400 athlete samples shortly before an inspection.
Mutko denied the allegation as unfounded and stated that the samples were destroyed upon WADA's request.
Responses from Russia have ranged in tone and have largely sought to play down the scandal. President Vladimir Putin's spokesperson Monday night had "nothing to add to the refutations already made." According to the Associated Press, there has been little press coverage of the accusations in the Russian media.
Since the report's publication, there have been calls from WADA, and elsewhere that Russian track and field athletes besuspended from future competitions,
including next year's Summer Olympics.
Australia`s national Olympic committee added its voice to this demand on Tuesday. "If Russia is not in Rio, I think the reputation of athletics will be enhanced," Athletics Australia's Chief Phil Jones said in a statement. "Circumstances like those alleged in this report must not be allowed to continue," he added.
The Australian race walker Jared Tallent - who finished second to Russian Sergey Kirdyapkin in the 2012 London Olympics - is also asking for the gold medal.
"I think it's better if everyone speaks out, there's more chance that changes will happen," Tallent was quoted as saying to the Australian Associated Press.
In Kenya, also under pressure forpractices,
athletics officials have expressed fear that a similar report could damn an entire "generation of athletes" in its countries. A newspaper there urged the country to tighten its compliance to doping regulations.