When the 2018 Winter Olympics are held in Pyeongchang, South Korea, you won’t see any athletes competing under Russia’s flag. The International Olympic Committee has banned Russia from competing due to a recently-discovered case of performance-enhancing drugs.
Russia banned from 2018 Winter Olympics by IOC
At a press conference, the IOC stated that the doping was sponsored by Russia itself during the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. IOC President Thomas Bach called the situation “an unprecedented attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games and sport. The committee also cited “systemic manipulation” of its rules against the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
The panel made the decision to ban Russia after reviewing a confidential report which offered details on state-sponsored doping in 2014 and the cover-up that followed. The McLaren Report came from the World Anti-Doping Agency last year and revealed practices such as the use of a “mouse hole” for swapping athletes’ samples for drug tests with samples that were clean, according to NPR.
Consequences of the 2018 Winter Olympics ban
Because the IOC banned Russia from the 2018 Winter Olympics, “clean” athletes from the country won’t be able to compete under the nation’s flag, which will also be excluded from all displays. Russian athletes who are permitted to compete must do so under the Olympic flag with the title “Olympic Athlete from Russia.” Any medals won by these athletes will not be credited to Russia, and the Olympic anthem will be played in ceremonies. Additionally, officials from Russia have been barred from even attending the games, and
Bach described the consequences from the 2018 Winter Olympics ban as “proportional,” adding that they “should draw a line under this damaging episode and serve as a catalyst for a more effective anti-doping system.”
Russia continues to deny that any state-sponsored doping ever took place. According to NBC, President Vladimir Putin accused the U.S. of trying to interfere in his country’s presidential election next year by raising allegations of doping among Russian athletes. It’s unclear whether Russia will allow its athletes to compete under the Olympic flag or whether it will require them to boycott the games.