Russia’s team has been barred from the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Government officials will be forbidden from attending, the flag will not be part of the opening ceremony, and records will show that Russia didn’t win any medals.
Some qualifying Russian athletes who have passed several drug tests will be allowed to compete at the IOC’s discretion, but they will do so in a neutral uniform.
It follows an investigation into allegations of state-sponsored doping at the 2014 Games hosted by Russia in Sochi. Despite repeated Russian denials, the Schmid report has found evidence of “the systemic manipulation by Russian officials of tampering with and even swapped urine samples, corrupting the testing.
The findings led the committee to strip Russia of some of its medals from the 2014 Sochi Olympics and limit some Russian athletes at the 2016 Rio Olympics — a punishment that was criticized as not severe enough.
The IOC’s president, Thomas Bach, said of the punishment handed down on Tuesday, “This was an unprecedented attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games and sport”.
He went on to say that this should draw a line under this damaging episode and serve as a catalyst for a more effective anti-doping system led by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
It’s unclear how Russia will respond to the punishment. According to The New York Times, Russian officials had threatened a boycott if they were barred from the Olympics.