Russia Banned from 2018 Winter Olympics for Doping

Russia has been banned from competing in the February 2018 winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea and fined $15 million due to systematic doping.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced the unprecedented penalty today, Townhall reported. In addition, government officials are forbidden to attend, it's flag will not be displayed, it's anthem will not be played, and 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. 

Individual Russian athletes who test clean may receive special dispensation to compete in Pyeongchang wearing a neutral uniform, but Team Russia will not be eligible. If those individuals win any medals, the record books will still show that Russia won zero medals. The New York Times reported:

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.

At the coming Games, Mr. Bach said Tuesday, a special medal ceremony will reassign medals to retroactive winners from Sochi. But, in light of legal appeals from many of the Russian athletes who have been disqualified by the I.O.C., it is uncertain if all results from Sochi will be finalized in time.

Bach also said:

This was an unprecedented attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games and sport. This should draw a line under this damaging episode and serve as a catalyst for a more effective anti-doping system.

The Netflix documentary Icarus is a pretty fascinating look at how messed up and far-reaching the Russian. doping scandal went. Check it out: