Russia banned from the Winter Olympics

By: Gabe Mattick and Riley Lumpkin

On Tuesday, December 5th, 2017, Russia was banned from the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea because of allegations of heavy doping. Russia’s athletes accused of doping will not be able to attend the Olympic Games, and government officials from Russia are also banned. The athletes who passed drug tests cleanly will be able to declare as independents, and will wear neutral uniforms. Russia’s anthem will not play during the Opening Ceremony, and their flag will not be displayed. According the the New York Times, “In barring Russia’s team, Olympic officials left the door open for some Russian athletes. Those with histories of rigorous drug testing may petition for permission to compete in neutral uniforms. A panel appointed by the International Olympic Committee will rule on each athlete’s eligibility.” Winter sports that Russia has excelled at, such as biathlon and cross-country skiing, could be completely wiped out because of the large amount of drug violations.

These drug violations are not a new occurrence though, according to a New York Times article written in 2015, “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 was all run through the nation’s deputy prime minister, Vitaly Mutko, who was Russia’s top sports official during the 2014 Sochi Games. He has now been banned for life from the Olympic Games. Russia will also be competing in the 2018 World Cup in June. They have not yet been banned from the World Cup; FIFA still has to make a decision.

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