In a scandal that has shocked the sports world, it was recently uncovered that the Russian athletes, primarily runners and swimmers, engaged in widespread, extensive, state-sponsored doping program. As a result, the Russian track and field teams--and potentially the entire athletic delegation--may be banned from the upcoming Summer Olympics in Rio next year.
From the New York Times:
The report implicated athletes, coaches, trainers, doctors and various Russian institutions, including the country’s anti-doping agency and an accredited laboratory in Moscow that handled testing for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. It detailed payments to conceal doping tests and arrangements by which athletes were made aware of when they would be tested, in violation of code which dictates they be spontaneous, and also the destruction of samples.
The report also said that members of Russian law enforcement agencies were present in the Moscow lab and involved in the efforts to interfere with the integrity of the samples, creating “an atmosphere of intimidation” on lab processes and staff members.
“What made these allegations even more egregious was the knowledge that the government of the Russian Federation provides direct funding and oversight for the above institutions, thus suggesting that the federal government was not only complicit in the collusion, but that it was effectively a state-sponsored regime,” the report said.
The New York Times created a graphic showing the extent of Russia's doping program compared to other countries who have had athletes caught doping. Russia accounts for more than 10 percent of all doping violations.
This is disturbing. Doping is cheating, and it's not fair for the other athletes who have to compete against steroid-riddled competitors. This is shameful, and while I think an outright ban on the Russian Olympic team would be a little excessive, I would be pretty shocked if the track and field athletes were permitted to compete.
In a touch of sports irony, this scandal was uncovered just days after a Russian gymnast, Viktoria Komova, accused the U.S. Women's Gymnastics Team of using steroids to help them win at the 2015 World Championships. (She has since apologized.) No members of Russia's gymnastics program have been identified as being participants in the doping program.
I guess it's good to remember that cheaters never prosper.