U.S. lawmakers introduced a bill on Tuesday that would make it a crime to use or distribute performance-enhancing drugs while competing in international sports events.
The bill in the House is named after Grigory Rodchenkov, the Russian lab director who blew the whistle on Russian cheating at the Sochi Olympics.
Penalties would include fines of up to $250,000 for individuals and prison sentences of up to 10 years for those who make, distribute or use banned substances at international events, such as the Olympics.
U.S. lawmakers introduced a bill on Tuesday that would make it a crime to use or distribute performance-enhancing drugs while competing in international sports events. American athletes are seen above at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea last February
U.S. and foreign athletes would be subject to the law if competing in an event that includes four or more U.S. athletes and other athletes from three or more countries, even if the event is held outside the United States.
The bill cites the U.S. contribution to the World Anti-Doping Agency as justification for jurisdiction over events outside American borders.
The bill also would expand the timeframe for athletes and corporate sponsors who were cheated to file lawsuits seeking damages.
Other countries, including Germany, Italy and Kenya, have similar laws.
The bill in the House is named after Grigory Rodchenkov (left), the Russian lab director who blew the whistle on Russian cheating at the Sochi Olympics. Rodchenkov was the subject of the Oscar-winning Netflix documentary Icarus (right)
U.S. authorities have long been hamstrung by limited legal options to prosecute doping cheats.
Rodchenkov was the subject of the Oscar-winning Netflix documentary Icarus, which told the remarkable story of how he exposed Russia’s state-sponsored doping program.
He is currently in the American witness protection program because of what officials say are credible threats to his life.
Rodchenkov smuggled authentic documents out of Russia and gave it to Bryan Fogel, the filmmaker behind Icarus, as well as The New York Times and the Justice Department.
Rodchenkov was the central figure in the film, outlining how he oversaw the doping program and helped Russian athletes fool doping tests.
Ultimately over 1,000 Russian athletes were implicated in the scandal.
During the making of the film, Fogel smuggled Rodchenkov out of Russia and the scientist is now in US witness protection.