Citing “systematic manipulation” of anti-doping rules, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced Tuesday it has banned Russia from the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. A 14-person panel had been mulling a confidential IOC report that detailed Russia’s official doping program during the 2014 Sochi Olympics, and the extensive cover-up.
As a result of this ban, no Russian officials will be allowed to attend the games. Their flag will be excluded from any display, and if any “clean” Russian athletes are given permission to attend, they won’t be competing under the Russian flag. They’ll compete under the name “Olympic Athlete from Russia” (OAR) and the Olympic flag, any medals they win won’t be credited to Russia and the Olympic anthem will be played in any ceremony.
“This was an unprecedented attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games and sport,” IOC president Thomas Bach said. “The IOC EB [executive board], after following due process, has issued proportional sanctions for this systemic manipulation while protecting the clean athletes. This should draw a line under this damaging episode and serve as a catalyst for a more effective anti-doping system led by WADA [World Anti-Doping Agency].”
The question now is, will Russia allow its “clean” athletes to compete or will it impose a mandatory boycott?
This ban was a long time coming. The McLaren Report, released in two parts by the World Anti-Doping Agency in July and