WASHINGTON, December 5, 2017: Russia is being banned from 2018 South Korea Olympic Games. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is announcing the ban following athlete doping at the 2014 Sochi Games.
The IOC claims it was a state-sponsored doping but will allow some individual athletes to compete. One of the conditions is competitors will wear uniforms bearing the name “Olympic Athlete from Russia.” Those competitors will need to pass rigorous dopping screens in order to participate.
In 2014 during the Sochi Games, Russia’s sports ministry tampered with dozens of urine samples in an attempt to conceal evidence of steroid use throughout the competition. As a result of the doping scandal, two dozen athletes were disqualified from the official Sochi standings.
The International Olympic Committee is announcing lifetime bans against four Russian skeleton racers. Those racers will be returning their Sochi medals. This latest decision means that 10 Olympians lost their Sochi medals after state-sponsored doping at the 2014 Games.
The IOC has also says the Russian Olympic Committee must pay $15 million to reimburse the costs of investigating the doping.
IOC President Thomas Bach calls Russia’s actions:
“an unprecedented attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games and sport.”
President Putin denies doping campaigns
Putin continues to deny any doping campaigns by the state. The Russian president says the sanctions are a conspiracy to “incite discontent among sports fans, athletes.” He also claims it is an attempt to influence his country’s presidential election in March.
The All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (VGTRK) is announcing they will not broadcast the Winter Olympics. The decision by the IOC was based on the finds of two IOC commissions. The commission is still investigating whether Russian state agencies including the FSB were participants.
The U.S. Olympic Committee released a statement praising the IOC’s decision saying:
“There were no perfect options, but this decision will clearly make it less likely that this ever happens again. Now it is time to look ahead to Pyeongchang.”
Olympics without Russia
With the ban, the number of athletes in sports like biathlon and cross-country skiing will be smaller. The U.S. will displace Russia in overall medals standings for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, following a new set of penalties related to the doping scandal.
Some are requesting that there be a medal reallocation ceremony for athletes who lost medals to Russians found to be doping at Sochi, at the 2018 Games in February.
The Russian Olympic Committee is appealing the IOC’s decision.