The International Olympic Committee has barred Russia from competing in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea as punishment for systematic doping. The penalty is unprecedented.
The IOC came to its conclusions after an in depth investigation that found Russian athletes not only cheating, but the Russian sports ministry working overtime to conceal the doping.
Thomas Bach, president of I.O.C., has said he was perturbed not only by Russia’s widespread cheating but by how it had been accomplished: by corrupting the Olympic laboratory that handled drug testing at the Games, and on orders from Russia’s own Olympic officials.
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. (New York Times)
In addition to the ban, the Russian Olympic Committee was fined $15 million. Russian deputy prime minister Vitaly Mutko, who was Russia’s top sports official during the Sochi Games, has been banned from the Olympics for life.
"Clean" Russian athletes may still be invited to compete in Pyeongchang on an individual basis, but Team Russia as a whole will not be eligible for any medals.
The 2018 Winter Olympics are scheduled to take place Feb. 9-25.