Russia has been under investigation from the World Anti Doping Agency since whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov brought to light the country’s illicit doping practices. After years of probing and consideration, the International Olympics Committee (IOC) has issued its verdict — Russia will be barred from participating in the South Korean-hosted 2018 Winter Olympic games.
Not only are Russian teams banned from the upcoming Winter games, 25 Russian athletes and several officials have been banned for life from future events. The IOC will permit clean athletes to participate if they compete under the title of “Olympic Athlete from Russia,” wear an accompanying OAR uniform, and undergo a rigorous testing process. Russian parties are taking the news poorly, as expected, but the Western response has been mostly positive, including an affirmation from Britain’s Sports Minister, Tracey Crouch.
The IOC may lift the restrictions by the end of the games if Russia honors the decision and recoups the cost of the investigation — a $15 million USD fine. FIFA has stated that this does not alter its decision to hold the 2018 World Cup in Russia, stating that it “continues to take every measure at its competitions to ensure football remains free from doping.”