Russia hackers have apparently stolen emails from the International Olympic Committee, a move seemingly provoked by the organization's decision to ban Russia from participating in the 2018 Winter Games due its massive doping program, BuzzFeed News reports. The hackers call themselves "Fancy Bears," a reference to the well-known Russian-linked hacker group "Fancy Bear" as well as the mascot of the games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
The emails, published Wednesday, allegedly "point to the fact that the Europeans and the Anglo-Saxons are fighting for power and cash in the sports world," Fancy Bears writes. Some of the emails include discussions about American athletes who had been cleared to take banned substances, such as Serena Williams (anti-inflammatories) and Simone Biles (ADHD medication). "For some Russians, news of American athletes being approved for such medicine was evidence of a scandalous double standard," BuzzFeed News writes.
The IOC did not confirm the emails, telling BuzzFeed News that "we do not comment on leaked documents." A lawyer who appeared in the emails said that a September 2016 email released in the leak sounded authentic.
In an initial analysis of the Fancy Bears emails, Wired writes that "upon first glance many appear to be routine logistical communications, despite Fancy Bears' efforts to sensationalize the correspondence." That being said, the apparent breach "also serves as a reminder that Russian hackers remain seemingly as active as ever." Jeva Lange