On 2 August 2015, the Sunday Times published an article entitled ‘Revealed: sport’s dirtiest secret’ (the Article), which claimed that the disclosure of supposedly ‘secret’ data held by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) revealed “the extraordinary extent of cheating by athletes at the world’s top events”. The Sunday Times and German broadcaster ARD/WDR stated that blood test data had been leaked to them by a whistle-blower concerned about the content (the Database).
In its response to these allegations, on 4 August 2015 the IAAF confirmed that, following internal investigations, it believed that there was no whistle-blower and that the Database had been obtained illegally.
The Database allegedly contains more than 12,000 blood test results of over 5,000 athletes and the Article has led to finger-pointing in the sporting world. Whatever the position regarding the anti-doping procedures and practices implemented by the IAAF, the Article has placed innocent athletes in the public eye and forced them to defend themselves, some even feeling the need to release extremely personal information into the public domain in order to do so.
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