The International Olympic Committee has banned Russia from participating in the 2018 Olympic games in Pyeongchang for “systematic manipulation of the anti-doping system”.
Those Russian athletes that are clean will still be allowed to compete under the moniker “Olympic athlete from Russia (OAR).” They will be represented by the Olympic flag and the Olympic anthem will be sung during ceremonies. This means even if Russian athletes were to win gold, silver, or bronze medals, Russia’s medal count would still be zero.
The news comes after findings from the former President of Switzerland, Samuel Schmid, that deemed the following:
“the systemic manipulation of the anti-doping rules and system in Russia, through the Disappearing Positive Methodology and during the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014, as well as the various levels of administrative, legal and contractual responsibility, resulting from the failure to respect the respective obligations of the various entities involved”. – Samuel Schmid, the Schmid Report
In a press conference, IOC President Thomas Bach talked about how the decision came about. You can watch that by clicking here.
The Schmid report was based on findings by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren which was commissioned by the World Anti-doping Agency. McLaren’s report was published last year, however the IOC was unable to prove any of the claims.
“We only drew conclusions from facts that were corroborated by evidence and proof.” – Samuel Schmid, the Schmid Report
IOC President Thomas Bach was apologetic to those athletes that are clean.
“As an athlete myself, I feel very sorry for all the clean athletes from all NOCs who are suffering from this manipulation. Working with the IOC Athletes’ Commission, we will now look for opportunities to make up for the moments they have missed on the finish line or on the podium.”
Historically, Russia has been a power house during the Olympics. Aside from the 2010 Vancouver games, Russia has ranked top 5 in every winter games since 1994. In the summer sports, they’ve just done as good.
Russian athletes weren’t the only ones banned from the games. The IOC took action on those behind the scenes as well, excluding Minister of Sport Vitaly Mutko for life, and suspended Russian Olympic Committee President Alexander Zhukov as a member of the IOC.