The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) last night condemned cyber attacks by a Russian cyber-espionage group on a confidential database that contains personal files of the world's top athletes.
The hackers have since promised that they will publish 'sensational proof' of famous athletes taking doping substances.
The attack is likely a retaliation from Russia due to a number of athletes being banned from competing in the Olympic and Paralympic Games after athletes from the country were found to have been taking banned substances in previous tournaments.
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American athletes Serena Williams, Venus Williams, and Simone Biles have all been specifically targeted by the hackers.
Documents published on the website 'Fancy Bear' appear to show that Serena Williams had taken a number of restricted drugs from 2010 to 2015, including prednisone, prednisolone, and methylprednisone.
As for her sister, she had also reportedly taken prednisone, prednisolone, triamcinolone, and formoterol during her career.
Gymnast and gold medalist Biles, meanwhile, was given methylphenidate for attention-deficit disorder (ADD).
However, in all three cases, WADA confirmed that the athletes had not committed any doping offences because they had been given therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs). Therefore, they had permission from their national anti-doping agencies, as well as clearance from relevant international sports federations.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has responded to the attacks by saying that it 'strongly condemns' the hacking, and then claimed it was done to 'tarnish the reputation of clean athletes'.
The IOC also confirmed that none of the athletes targeted had violated any anti-doping rules during the Olympic Games this summer.
After the news broke, Venus Williams was quick to issue a statement regarding her exposed documents.
The statement read: “I have followed the rules established under the Tennis Anti-Doping Program in applying for, and being granted, ‘therapeutic use exemptions’.
"The applications for TUEs under the Tennis Anti-Doping Program require a strict process of approval which I have adhered to when serious medical conditions have occurred.”
Biles herself has also responded to the claims by taking to her official Twitter account. She posted the following two tweets.
After a sensational showing this summer, these three athletes will be disappointed that their personal data has been compromised and made public, and may now be thrown back into the media spotlight once again.
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