Weeks away from the 2018 Winter Olympics, it has been determined that one country will not be allowed to participate.
The Russian Olympic Committee have been suspended, and all clean athletes from the country will have to compete under a neutral flag at the games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The International Olympic Committee examined the findings of a 16-month investigation into Russia’s doping and cheating at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
As a result the country can challenge the IOC sanction with an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Samuel Schmid, the former president of Switzerland, confirmed “the systemic manipulation of the anti-doping rules and system in Russia, through the Disappearing Positive Methodology and during the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014, as well as the various levels of administrative, legal and contractual responsibility, resulting from the failure to respect the respective obligations of the various entities involved.”
So what does this mean for the athletes?
Individual Russian athletes will be allowed to participate in the games under strict guidelines as long as they are clean. They would compete under the Olympic flag and with a uniform bearing the neutral name, and if an athlete wins the Olympic anthem will be played instead.
Basically Russians will somewhat be existent in these games.
The Russian Olympic committee will also have to reimburse the IOC for the cost of the investigation and contribute $15 million toward the creation of an independent testing authority.
As of Monday December 4th, 25 Russians have also been disqualified from Sochi and 11 medals have been stripped.
Russia has already been banned from the Winter Paralympic Games by the International Paralympic Committee as a result of the same investigation.
So not only have their officials been banned, their athletes are punished, the head employees of their organizations have been banned permanently, they lose medals from past games and they have to pay hefty fines and fees. Not the outcome they were hoping for.
Unfortunately this isn’t the first time Russian athletes have been banned from an Olympic game. More than 100 were banned in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro games after a report determined they operated with state-sponsored doping tat involved 1,000 athletes in 30 different sports between 2012 and 2015.
Of course, they still deny these claims.
News of the ban will certainly not sit well with the country at all because they strongly pride themselves on their Olympic performances. But that’s what you get when you try to cheat in your own country when you host the games and believe that the rules don’t apply to you because of it.
If you cheat, you cheat. And I’m glad to see the IOC refuses to let them get away with this because this has been going on for long enough.
Featured image via TSN