WADA Says US Athletes' Data Hacked By Russians

The World Anti-Doping Agency said that its database was hacked by a Russian cyber espionage group that released medical information of four American Olympians.

Update:  Three of the four athletes subjected to the hack issued responses on Tuesday. 

Simone Biles responded to the leak in a tweet, stating she has ADHD. 

Elena Delle Donne tweeted a picture of herself after a surgery and "thanked" the hackers for publicizing her medical information.

"I'd like to thank the hackers for making the world aware that I legally take a prescription for a condition I've been diagnosed with, which WADA granted me an exemption for. Thanks, guys!" Donne wrote in the caption. 

Venus Williams, who was diagnosed with Sjogren's syndrome, released a statement through her agent, saying," I was disappointed to learn today that my private, medical data has been compromised by hackers and published without my permission. I have followed the rules established under the Tennis Anti-Doping Program in applying for, and being granted, 'therapeutic use exemption.'"

The World Anti-Doping Agency has said that its systems were hacked and confidential medical information of several American athletes was published by a Russian cyber espionage group. 

The group, Fancy Bear, published the information obtained form hacking the WADA database on their website.

Fancy Bear states that they “stand for fair play and clean sport,” and that the U.S. team has tainted victories.

They have released documents for Simone Biles, Elena Delle Donne, Serena Williams, and Venus Williams.

Venus and Serena Williams

WADA said it is believed the group accessed the information through an International Olympic Committee account created for the Rio Games. 

Though these documents do show that the Olympians tested positive for certain drugs, WADA said the athletes did not violate any rules given they were granted therapeutic use exemption

Social media users have different reactions; some have expressed anger while others come to the defense of the athletes.

WADA has since replied to the hack, condemning the hacking team, who they identified as Russian, stating that the act was a cyber-attack.

“WADA has been informed by law enforcement authorities that these attacks are originating out of Russia. Let it be known that these criminal acts are greatly compromising the effort by the global anti-doping community to re-establish trust in Russia further to the outcomes of the Agency’s independent McLaren Investigation Report.”

In their statement, WADA speculates how the team gained access into their database and said that they acknowledge the potential threat this poses to the athletes whose information were divulged.

They declared that they are taking the attack seriously and are launching an investigation with law enforcement. They also noted that there was an attack early August involving Yuliya Stepanova’s account with WADA’s Administration and Management System (ADAMS).

She was the key whistleblower for the commission that exposed Russian doping scandal. 

Many have speculated that this attack was a response to Russia’s doping scandal that led to a number of Olympians to be disqualified from the Rio games.

The drugs listed in the documents were common drugs used for treating problems such as ADHD, narcolepsy, colitis, inflammation, multiple sclerosis, and arthritis. 

Fancy Bear states at the end of their release that this is “to be continued,” most likely indicating that they will soon be releasing more documents about other Olympians. 

This breach of information and confidentiality has sparked controversy, but in reality there is no problem. The drugs that the athletes tested positive for were legal and many were not even stimulants.

This was just a failed attempt to accuse U.S. athletes of doping, most likely by Russians who were upset that their athletes were disqualified for their scandal.  

Banner credit: Twitter user @FirstpostSports

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