A few fans will concede that some of their athletes might have been doping. But more than 160? They want evidence. They want explanations. The testimony of the former head of Moscow’s antidoping lab, and the results of two independent investigations, one for the World Anti-Doping Agency and another for the I.O.C., do not convince them.
“They tell us nothing,” Andrey Savinov, a 53-year-old Muscovite, said while waiting for the start of the biathlon, a sport where Russia had doping problems long before 2014. “They have explained nothing.”
Savinov and his compatriots have come to support a team officially known as Olympic Athletes From Russia, in a Games where both the Russian flag and the Russian anthem have been prohibited, at least from the field of play.
These and other restrictions were imposed after an investigation determined that Russia ran what is arguably the most ambitious cheating conspiracy in sports history: a state-sponsored program to provide athletes with performance-enhancing drugs, coupled with elaborate countermeasures to beat urine tests. Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, has denied that the state-sponsored program was in place.