In a stunning announcement, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has banned Russia from competing at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.
The ban is viewed as punishment for alleged state-backed doping by Russia at the 2014 Winter Olympics, which were held in Sochi, Russia.
— The Hill (@thehill) December 5, 2017
While Russia has been formally banned, the IOC will still allow certain athletes to compete as neutrals “under strict conditions.” These athletes will be required to wear uniforms with the name “Olympic Athlete from Russia” printed on them.
In a statement, IOC President Thomas Bach called Russia’s actions “an unprecedented attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games and sport. The IOC [executive board] after following due process, has issued proportional sanctions for this systematic manipulation while protecting clean athletes. This should draw a line under this damaging episode and serve as a catalyst for a more effective anti-doping system.”
Two IOC commissions have been tasked with investigating Russian doping, with one focusing on prosecuting Russian athletes, whereas the other is looking into whether Russian state agencies were involved in the doping program.
Russia has vehemently denied any doping allegations, with President Vladimir Putin suggesting that the doping allegations could be an American attempt to interfere in next year’s Russian presidential election.
The allegations against Russia initially emerged prior to the 2016 Summer Olympics, but the IOC chose not to ban Russia from competing in the games. Instead, the IOC allowed individual sports governing bodies to determine which athletes were eligible to compete.
The IOC has long been viewed as an extremely corrupt organization, so their decision to ban Russia from the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics may help to restore some confidence in the governing body.
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Source: NBC News