Russia has been banned from the Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea in 2018 following a decision by the International Olympic committee (IOC). No officials are permitted to attend nor will their anthem or flag be displayed during the Games.
Athletes from Russia willing to participate will have to do so as individuals and wear a neutral uniform. The official record books also won’t show any record of Russia receiving medals should any Russian athletes succeed at the Games.
The punishment comes as a result of the exposed doping system employed by the nation in previous Games. Following an in depth investigation into the Russian Olympics team, officials and the government, it was reiterated what had been known for some time – many Russian athletes were guilty of doping.
The final ruling stated that the nation had been found guilty of “executing an extensive, state-backed doping program”. The systematic doping is said to rival that only of East Germany in the 1960s through 1980s that has since because notorious.
It was rumoured that the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) had threatened to boycott should such a decision be handed down. The president of the ROC, Alexander Zhukov, said on Wednesday Tuesday that many of the athletes would challenge the result at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Zhukov also said that the decision for eligible athletes to compete as neutrals at the Games would be finalised at a meeting on December 12.
Interestingly, the IOC has left the door open for some Russian athletes to compete as neutrals. Those who are determined to have undergone rigorous testing in recent years may well be allowed apply for permission to compete. Although this number is unknown, it is expected that the Russian contingent at the Winter Olympics in 2018 will be severely depleted.
The cheating on such a broad scale that was executed by Russia was not only amazing in the size of it, but also how it had been done. Russia’s own Olympic officials had coordinated for the Olympic laboratory for drug testing at the Games to be corrupted.
At the Sochi 2014 Games, a team organised by Russia’s sports ministry entered the laboratory to tamper with more than 100 urine samples of Russian athletes in order to cover up their steroid use. Since then, more than 24 athletes who competed at those games have been disqualified from the rankings with officials still sorting through the tampered samples.
The decision has been backed by Australia’s Chef De Mission for the 2018 Games, Ian Chesterman, stating that he believed it was “an appropriate and considered response by the IOC “.