Russian Olympic Team Banned From 2018 Games
See ya in four years!
It looks like Russia's past issues with doping athletes has royally bit them in the ass. The New York Times is reporting that the International Olympic Committee has handed Russia some stiff punishment for their systematic doping.
According to the IOC, Russia's Olympic team won't be able to attend the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea this coming February, nor will their flag or anthem be on display or played during the opening ceremony. If, for some reason, a Russian athlete is permitted to compete in the Games, they won't be doing it as a Russian athlete, but in a neutral uniform. Russia will also be marked in the record books as having obtained zero medals during this Games (which, duh).
While Russia hasn't responded as of this writing, word is that a number of Russian officials have already said they would boycott the IOC if this ruling was handed down.
It's said that Russia's state-backed doping is only rivaled by how East Germany got down over numerous decades, but the impact here could be intriguing. The New York Times is pondering whether Russia being banned could result in entire sports (like the biathlon and cross-country skiing) being completely removed from competition, considering how dominant Russia was in these categories at previous Games.
In December of 2016, an extensive report found that roughly 1,000 Russian athletes were part of an "institutional conspiracy" involving doping. This was spread over the Summer and Winter Games, and highlighted how Russia took steps to cover their doped-up tracks.