Russia Banned From Winter Olympics by I.O.C.

Russia Banned From Winter Olympics by I.O.C.


In barring Russia’s team, Olympic officials left the door open for some Russian athletes. Those with histories of rigorous drug testing may petition for permission to compete in neutral uniforms. Although it is unknown exactly how many will clear that bar, it is certain that the contingent from Russia will be depleted significantly. Entire sports — such as biathlon and cross-country skiing, in which Russia has excelled and in which its drug violations have been many — could be wiped out completely.

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Russian Doctor Explains How He Helped Beat Doping Tests at the Sochi Olympics

A step-by-step look at how Russian agents used an elaborate scheme to swap out tainted urine samples for clean ones taken months earlier.



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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.

The Russian Olympic Committee was also fined $15 million on Tuesday.

[Read The Times’s report that first laid out the details of Russia’s doping scheme, and the exclusive story of a whistle-blower’s personal diaries that were shared with investigators.]

The punishment announced Tuesday resembles what antidoping regulators had lobbied for leading up to the 2016 Summer Games, where Russia was allowed to participate but in restricted numbers. It is likely to face a legal appeal from Russia’s Olympic Committee.

The decision was announced after top International Olympic Committee officials had met privately with Alexander Zhukov, the president of Russia’s Olympic Committee; Vitaly Smirnov, Russia’s former sports minister who was last year appointed Mr. Putin to lead a national antidoping commission to redeem Russia’s standing in global sports; and Evgenia Medvedeva, a two-time world skating champion.

“Everyone is talking about how to punish Russia, but no one is talking about how to help Russia,” Mr. Smirnov said, sipping a hot beverage in the lobby of the Lausanne Palace Hotel before delivering his final appeal to officials that afternoon. “Of course we want our athletes there, and we want the Russian flag and anthem,” he said.

But that appeal was rejected in light of the conclusions of Samuel Schmid, a former president of Switzerland whom the Olympic committee appointed last year to review the findings of a scathing investigation commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Tuesday’s penalty was in line with what had been advocated by two key whistle-blowers whose accounts upended Russia’s standing in global sports over the last several years: Grigory Rodchenkov, the chemist who spent 10 years as Russia’s antidoping lab chief and was key to carrying out the cheating schemes in Sochi; and Vitaly Stepanov, a former employee of Russia’s antidoping agency who married a runner for Russia’s national team and was the first to speak publicly about the nation’s institutionalized cheating.

“The world knows that hundreds of Olympic dreams have been stolen by the doping system in the country where I was born,” Mr. Stepanov wrote in an affidavit submitted to the International Olympic Committee this fall. He had suggested banning Russia’s Olympic Committee for two years, or until the nation’s antidoping operations are recertified by regulators. Russia and its individual athletes are all but certain to miss the 2018 Paralympics given regulators’ refusal to recertify the nation last month.

“The evidence is clear, that the doping system in Russia has not yet been truly reformed,” Mr. Stepanov wrote.

Dr. Rodchenkov is living at an undisclosed location in the United States under protection of federal authorities. In August, “Icarus,” a film detailing Dr. Rodchenkov’s move to the United States and tell-all account, was released.

Tuesday’s decision may have major consequences for another major sports event, next year’s $11 billion soccer World Cup in Russia. The nation’s deputy prime minister, Vitaly Mutko, was Russia’s top sports official during the 2014 Sochi Games and was directly implicated by Dr. Rodchenkov. As part of Tuesday’s ruling, Mr. Mutko was barred for life from the Olympics.



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