The IOC have announced a ban on Russia sending a team to the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in February 2018. The ban comes after the investigation of a state run doping program by the Russians leading into the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
“This was an unprecedented attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games and sport. The IOC EB (executive board), after following due process, has issued proportional sanctions for this systemic manipulation while protecting the clean athletes” said IOC president Thomas Bach.
“This should draw a line under this damaging episode and serve as a catalyst for a more effective anti-doping system led by WADA.”
It gets worse for Russia as the IOC have placed a life time Olympics ban on the Deputy Prime Minister (and former Sports Minister) Vitaly Mutko. The Russian Olympic Committee president, Alexander Zhukov, has also been suspended from his role as an IOC member.
Certain athletes from Russia, those who have a rigorous drug tested history, will be free to compete at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics but will do so under the name “Olympic Athlete from Russia”. But the Russian flag will not be flown during the Opening Ceremony and any medals won will be individual and not awarded to Russia.
Many Sochi Olympic medals will be reassigned as a result of Russia’s urine tampering during the 2014 Sochi Games (over a 100 were tampered with to remove evidence of any Russian doping).
In an elaborate overnight operation at the 2014 Sochi Games, a team assembled by Russia’s sports ministry tampered with more than 100 urine samples to conceal evidence of top athletes’ steroid use throughout the course of competition. More than two dozen Russian athletes have been disqualified from the Sochi standings as a result, and Olympic officials are still sorting through the tainted results and rescinding medals.
“This is an appropriate and considered response by the IOC, punishing those involved in the blatant cheating, the systematic manipulation that took place during the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games while allowing clean athletes to compete in PyeongChang” said Ian Chesterman, Chef de Mission 2018 Australian Winter Olympic Team.
“The culprits, the corrupt, have been dealt with. The offending athletes from Sochi have been banned for life from the Olympic Games, and Russia, the host nation and custodian of the Games for that period, has been directly punished.
“Russia, and all involved with Sochi 2014, had a responsibility to nurture the Olympic Games and respect the athletes competing by providing a fair competition. Clearly, across so many levels that trust was abused, so it is right that the individuals, organisations and country who failed to meet their obligations be held to account.
“It is fair that clean athletes can compete in the 2018 Games, but the IOC has made it very clear that the scrutiny of the athletes from Russia will be high. This is exactly as it should be. This will provide our athletes with confidence that they have an even playing field in PyeongChang, and that is fundamentally important.”
The Russians have hit back at the IOC decision, announcing they will not broadcast the games in their country.