author: konstantin kharitonov | sports editor
Will Russia be banned from the winter games? (UPDATE: Yes)
(UPDATE: The IOC offically announced that Russia will be officially banned from the 2018 Olympics)
Anytime the Olympics come up nowadays, Russia is the most likely country that comes up. Not for a positive reasons either, as the nation has been under investigation for the past three years for alleged statewide doping.
In 2014, a story that was ran on ARD, a German news broadcaster, stating that Russia has been undergoing a statewide policy of doping its athletes. Ever since, the nation has been under investigation by the World Anti-Doping Agency, and the results have been staggering.
Throughout the next two years, it was speculated that the International Olympic Committee was considering banning the nation from 2016 Summer Olympics, but ultimately the country was allowed to participate. However, since the story’s original publishing and the investigations go on, there have been a significant amount of athletes that have their medals rescinded and received life bans for doping.
As recent as November 27, 2017, Russia has had 46 Olympic medals stripped from its athletes. The International Association of Athletics Federations released a statement saying the country is banned from international competition until further notice, deeming that Russia did not do enough of a job to stop their athletes from doping. The decision to ban the nation from participating in the Pyeongchang Olympics coming up is yet to be decided, with the IOC planning to make their decision on December 5, 2017.
Tense time for everyone involved, that’s for sure. Not since the days where North Korea, Cuba, Ethiopia, Albania and the Sychelles all boycotted the games in 1988 did an eligible nation not participate in the Olympics.
Russia is not happy about it, either. Top Russian sports and government officials have come out and denounced the IAAF and the whistleblower, Grigory Rodchenkov, calling the allegations as false and purposely undermined. Other Russian sports organizations such as the KHL have threatened the restriction of their players to participate in the Olympics, regardless of their country of origin, as a protest to a potential ban.
The IOC does not face an easy decision. Russia is a major nation for the Olympics, as it is constantly one of the largest participators at any Winter Olympics. However, the doping scandal is one so big that the committee cannot simply overlook it.
The Chairman of the Olympic Broadcasting Services, Dick Pound (yes, that is his real name), mentions in a statement the severity of the situation.
“We’ve got institutionalized, government-organised cheating on a wide scale across a whole range of sports in a country. “
However, Kevan Gosper, the former vice-president of the IOC goes into detail just how difficult that such a decision is for the committee.
“We’ve got institutionalized, government-organised cheating on a wide scale across a whole range of sports in a country.”
This entire story has been a mess ever since it was first exposed in 2014. Russia is having many of their athletes banned from ever participating in sporting events, and the country is playing foul, completely disregarding any participation. Honestly, it’s been a depressing story to follow, and it is not ending anytime soon.