Leader comment: Smearing of Skinner a disgrace

Callum Skinner won Olympic gold and silver medals in Rio. Picture: Getty Images

Callum Skinner won Olympic gold and silver medals in Rio. Picture: Getty Images

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Olympic cycling hero Callum Skinner has gone to considerable lengths to demonstrate his innocence after a leak of confidential medical records showed he had taken a banned substance to treat asthma.

Weeks after claiming gold and silver medals in Rio, the Scot is one of a number of high-profile athletes to have details of their use of banned substances posted online last week. But Skinner has now released medical information dating back to when he was just five years of age to reveal the extent of an asthma condition he has had all his life, which saw him hospitalised three times as a youngster. He also revealed details of the two therapeutic use exemptions – which allow athletes to take an otherwise banned substance in order to treat a medical condition provided that there is no other effective treatment – he has had over the last two years.

The leaking of sensitive medical records published by the Fancy Bears, a group of Russian cyber hackers, has left a cloud of suspicion hanging over Skinner and many others. There must be great sympathy for Skinner, who says he has spent the last week contacting doctors and hospitals in order to release all his medical records.

It has been very easy for these hackers to smear sportsmen and women who have spent years working to get to the very pinnacle of achievement. It is exceptionally irresponsible to leak medical records online without also providing the relevant background in each case.

What has happened to Skinner, a long-term asthmatic who has complied with the rules governing medication, is a disgrace.

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