The biggest country in the world won’t be participating at Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Due to being found guilty after allegations of state-sponsored doping at the Sochi Games in 2014, The International Olympic Comittee (IOC) has now banned Russia from competing at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
The verdict was officially reached on 5th December 2017, with the news being released on the IOC website.
Here’s the officiate statement:
“The IOC executive board today studies and discussed the findings of the commision led by the former president of Switzerland, Samuel Schmid, addressing the systematic manipulation of the anti-doping system in Russia.
“This report also addresses in particular the manipulation at the anti-doping laboratory at the olympic winter games Sochi 2014 which targeted the Olympic Games directly.
“Over 17 months of extensive work, the Schmid commission gathered evidence and information and held hearings with all the main actors. Due process, to which every organisation is entitled, was followed. This opportunity was not available to the IOC prior to the Olympic Games Rio 2016.”
Clean Russian Athletes Allowed To Compete Under Neutral Flag
This is HUGE news, as Russia are known as strong competitors in every Olympic Games, and are the largest country in the world.
As a result, this will come as a massive shock to the whole country. However, there is still hope for the Russian athletes that wish to compete at the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea.
In the same statement, the IOC asserted that the ‘clean’ Russian athletes will be allowed to participate – but they will have to fly a neutral Olympic flag, instead of representing Russia.
But the big blow for Russia will be, if any of their athletes win while representing the Olympic flag, the history records won’t credit Russia as a country.
Speaking on the matter, Konstantin Kosachev (chair of the foreign affairs committee) said:
“They are always trying to put us down in everything – our way of life, our culture, our history and now our sport.
“My personal position is that to go as a team under the white flag is unacceptable. But it’s also unfair and wrong to forbid our athletes from taking part in a competition they’ve prepared for their whole lives. Each person should decide for themselves.”
Biggest State-Backed Doping Scandal In History
Russia’s controversial doping of athletes is now believed to be the biggest in the history of the Olympic Games.
In fact, it’s thought that only “the notorious program conducted by East Germany throughout the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s” rivals it.
Ultimately, whether or not any Russian athletes compete and win medals, there will forever be a black-mark against Russia at the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea.