The International Olympic Committee announced on Tuesday that it has arrived at the unprecedented decision to ban Russia from the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
As the New York Times first reported in 2016, Russia has been running a massive state-run doping scheme for years. In that report, Grigory Rodchenkov, who ran the Russian anti-doping laboratory at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, blew the whistle on the conspiracy. Rodchenkov said Russian antidoping experts and members of the state intelligence service broke into the lab every night during the Sochi games and replaced drug-tainted urine with samples collected months earlier.
Russia led the medal count at the Sochi games. Rodchenkov says at least 15 medal winners were part of the doping program.
In July 2016, an independent investigation by the World Anti-Doping Agency found that the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), the Ministry of Sport, and the Federal Security Service (the successor of the old KGB) had colluded to replace at least 643 positive urine samples with clean ones between 2011 and 2015. As a result of this study, 111 of the 389 Russian athletes originally slated to take part in the 2016 Summer Olympics were withdrawn from competition.
Now, after further review, the IOC has decided enough is enough. While individual Russian athletes will not be banned from the Olympics—provided their tests are clean—the Russian Federation and the Russian Ministry of Sport are both banned. Russian athletes will not compete in Russian uniform, and if they win medals the Russian anthem will not be played. Athletes will instead compete under the designation Olympic Athlete from Russia, which shall be abbreviated OAR.
Meanwhile, the following actions have been taken against specific Russian individuals:
To exclude the then Minister of Sport, Mr Vitaly Mutko, and his then Deputy Minister, Mr. Yuri Nagornykh, from any participation in all future Olympic Games.
To withdraw Mr Dmitry Chernyshenko, the former CEO of the Organising Committee Sochi 2014, from the Coordination Commission Beijing 2022.
To suspend ROC President Alexander Zhukov as an IOC Member, given that his membership is linked to his position as ROC President.
If only President Trump were as concerned about Russian meddling as the insanely corrupt International Olympic Committee.