Hackers May Have Doctored Athletes' Data, Warns WADA

An athlete competes in Moscow
An athlete competes during a track and field meet called 'Stars of 2016,' Moscow, July 28. The World Anti-Doping Agency has called on athletes to be vigilant in the wake of the 'Fancy Bear' hack. Kirill Kudrayavtsev/AFP/Getty

The World Anti-Doping Agency believes the group responsible for hacking into athletes' confidential medical files may have changed some of the data.

'Fancy Bear,' alleged to be a Russian group with the aim of exposing what it calls "sensational proof of athletes taking doping substances," released the first batch of TUEs (Therapeutic Use Exemptions, or permission for athletes to use otherwise banned substances with medical permission) on September 13.

High-profile British athletes including Sir Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome, Mo Farah and the double Olympic triathlon gold medallist Alistair Brownlee have been named in the documents as having received TUEs in the past, although there is no suggestion either has broken anti-doping rules.

Wiggins has faced scrutiny, however, for the timing of three injections of Triamcinolone, a powerful corticosteroid, shortly before three major cycling races, including the 2012 Tour de France, which he won. He and his former squad, Team Sky, said the steroid was used to treat a severe pollen allergy and asthma.

In a statement released Monday evening, WADA, whose athlete database was compromised when the Fancy Bears "phished" it, said it had deactivated all athletes' accounts from the 2016 Rio Olympics, and that some of the data released may have been inaccurate.

"It should also be noted that in the course of its investigation, WADA has determined that not all data released by Fancy Bear (in its PDF documents) accurately reflects ADAMS [WADA's computer system for storing athletes' medical records] data," the agency's statement read. "However, we are continuing to examine the extent of this as a priority and we would encourage any affected parties to contact WADA should they become aware of any inaccuracies in the data that has been released."