Russian Federation suspended from Winter Olympics, clean athletes can compete as neutrals

Russian Federation suspended from Winter Olympics, clean athletes can compete as neutrals

Russian Federation suspended from Winter Olympics, clean athletes can compete as neutrals

More than 20,000 doping tests will have been conducted by the start of the next year's Pyeongchang winter Olympics as the International Olympic Committee's pre-games testing programme hopes to root out cheats in advance, it said on Tuesday.

The US Olympic Committee praised the IOC's announcement.

Last summer, facing similar calls to exclude Russia from the Rio Olympics, the IOC pushed the decision onto the worldwide federations of individual sports, allowing them to choose which Russian athletes could compete.

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. But they will have to compete under the title of "Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR)".

Released in two phases, the McLaren Report concluded that Russia's scheme involved more than 1,000 Russian athletes - and that it also included plans both for manipulating doping controls and for covering up the system. This was reported on the website of the International Olympic Committee.

The IOC announced the decision after examining evidence of state-sponsored doping over several years that reached a high-point at the Winter Olympics hosted in Sochi, Russia, in 2014.

The Russian doping program caused "unprecedented damage to Olympism and sports", said IOC-appointed investigator Samuel Schmid, the former president of Switzerland who was asked to verify an "institutional conspiracy".

Ahead of the IOC's decision, NPR's Lucian Kim visited Moscow's famous Gorky Park to hear what Russians are making of the claims against their country in some of its most revered sports. The Olympic anthem will play when Russian athletes earn medals.

Russia's Olympic Committee has been ordered to reimburse the IOC's costs of investigating the doping scandal and it must also pay $15 million. "Requirements have been issued to the worldwide federations and RUSADA (Russian anti-doping agency) for the level of testing of those athletes", he said.

The country may just boycott the games altogether, however.

Russian Federation has repeatedly refused to accept that a state-sponsored doping program existed.

The CEO of the Sochi Olympics, Dmitry Chernyshenko, also had his place on an Olympic panel overseeing the 2022 Beijing Winter Games withdrawn by the IOC. No coaches or medical doctors whose prior athletes have violated anti-doping rules may participate in the 2018 Games. The IOC instead asked sports governing bodies to decide which athletes could compete.

Related news