USADA and UKAD condemn Fancy Bear's hacking of athletes' medical documents


WADA's ADAMS logo (Image credit: WADA)

The US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and UK Anti Doping (UKAD) have both released statements condemning the illegal hacking of medical information of 29 athletes who competed at the Rio Olympics.

Russian cyber-espionage group Tsar Team (APT28), calling itself 'Fancy Bear', hacked into the World Anti-doping Agency's (WADA) Anti-Doping Administration and Management System (ADAMS) and leaked confidential medical information, including Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) documents, to the public.

USADA CEO Travis Tygart released a statement following the leak that read: "It's unthinkable that in the Olympic movement, hackers would illegally obtain confidential medical information in an attempt to smear athletes to make it look as if they have done something wrong. The athletes haven't. In fact, in each of the situations, the athlete has done everything right in adhering to the global rules for obtaining permission to use a needed medication.

"The respective International Federations, through the proper process, granted the permission and it was recognized by the IOC and USADA. The cyber-bullying of innocent athletes being engaged in by these hackers is cowardly and despicable. It is time for the entire international community to stand up and condemn this cyber-attack on clean sport and athletes rights."

WADA announced Monday that their ADAMS program had been hacked, which was made through an account set up by the International Olympic Committee for the Olympic Games in Rio. The hackers accessed athlete medical information and initially released files belonging to four American athletes: Simone Biles (gymnastics), Serena and Venus Williams (tennis), and Elena Delle Donne (basketball).

Following the initial leak, confidential medical files of 25 other athletes were released - 10 from the USA, five from Great Britian, five from Germany and one each from Romania, Czech Republic, Poland, Russia and Denmark. Among the British athletes named were Tour de France winners Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome, both of whom had their TUE histories revealed

"UKAD strongly condemns actions of this nature and we are appalled that five members of Team GB have had their private data published illegally online," said UKAD chief executive Nicole Sapstead in a statement on Thursday. "Not only does it undermine our work and the protection of clean sport, but it is grossly unfair to the athletes, whose personal data has been put at risk.

Froome released a statement following the leak of his medical files and TUEs saying that he has 'no issue' with the leaked data given that his two TUEs for use of corticosteroid prednisolone in May 2013 and April 2014 were already made public. Similarly, a spokesperson for Wiggins stated that there was 'nothing new' in Wiggins' files that were leaked, which documented six TUEs between 2008 and 2013. 

Olivier Niggli, WADA's director general, also condemned the hack, saying: "We condemn this criminal activity and have asked the Russian Government to do everything in their power to make it stop."

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