Russia Banned from 2018 Winter Olympics for Long-term Doping

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December 5, 2017

Russia will not have an official representation at the 2018 Winter Olympics, after a ban handed down by the International Olympic Committee. 

In making the decision, a special panel cited the results of an investigation that found evidence of systematic doping involving more than 1,000 athletes in more than 30 sports for a number of years, most recently during the 2014 Winter Olympics, which took place in Sochi, Russia. The panel found evidence of doping and actions to cover it up during the 2012 Summer Olympics and as far back as 2011. 

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) released the report, named the McLaren Report, in July 2016 and December 2016, after a 17-month investigation led by former Switzerland President Samuel Schmid.

Russia's track and field wsa banned from taking part in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, in Rio de Janeiro.

Athletes not identified as having been part of the doping program or who meet strict anti-doping regulations could take part in the 2018 Games, which will be in PyeongChang, South Korea, but would be barred from competing under the Russian flag; instead, they would compete under the designation Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) and the Olympic flag. If such an athlete wins a medal, the Olympic flag will fly and the Olympic theme will be played.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) also instituted a lifetime ban for Vitaly Mutko, Russia's current deputy prime minister and former sports minister, and ordered the country to pay $15 million for a new Independent Testing Authority. Russia also has to pay the costs of the WADA investigations.

Russia, which has denied all allegations, can still appeal the decision; such an appeal would go before the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Another option is for Russia to pull all of its athletes out of the Games.

The 2018 Winter Olympics will run February 9–25.

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