Russia has been banned by International Olympic Committee (IOC) from competing at next year’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang except for the Russian athletes who can prove they are clean. It follows an investigation into allegations of state-sponsored doping at the 2014 Games hosted by Russia in Sochi.
“This should draw a line under this damaging episode,” the IOC said.
The decision has been facing severe criticism in Russia, with some politicians urging a boycott of the Games, though other officials have welcomed the chance for ‘clean’ athletes to take part.
The IOC has also suspended the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) but has said it will invite Russian clean athletes to compete in February under the name ‘Olympic Athlete from Russia’ (OAR).
According to the Schmid report, massive evidence was found which clearly indicated “the systemic manipulation of the anti-doping rules and system” causing back up of previous allegations of government involvement in cheating in the run-up to and during the Winter Olympics almost four years ago.
Bach said: “This was an unprecedented attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games and sport. This should draw a line under this damaging episode and serve as a catalyst for a more effective anti-doping system.”
The Games in South Korea, which start on 9 February, will now be without one of the powerhouses of Olympic sport.
Why is Russia’s Olympic Committee banned?
This entire investigation was instigated by whistleblowing doctor Grigory Rodchenkov, who was director of Russia’s anti-doping laboratory during Sochi 2014. He alleged the country ran a systematic programme of doping and claimed he had created substances to enhance athletes’ performances and switched urine samples to avoid detection.
The World Anti Doping Agency (Wada) took the services of Canadian law professor and sports lawyer Dr Richard McLaren to investigate deeply into the allegations.
More than 1,000 athletes across 30 sports benefitted from the doping programme between 2012 and 2015 according to The McLaren report.