The International Olympic Committee is banning the Russian Olympic Team from participating in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. The IOC handed down the decision after prolonged investigations into "systemic manipulation of the anti-doping system in Russia". The severe penalty is without precedent in Olympics history.
The U.S. Olympic Committee calls their decision "strong and principled." In a statement, the Committee's CEO, Scott Blackmun says, "There were no perfect options, but this decision will clearly make it less likely that this ever happens again."
Here's the thing. Clean Russian athletes with zero doping violations can participate in individual or team competitions - but they won't compete for their country. Instead, they'll be under the banner "Olympic Athlete from Russia" and under the general Olympic flag, not the Russian one. If they medal, the Olympic anthem will be played in place of the Russian anthem at the ceremony.
- The Russian Olympic Committee has also been fined $15-million. According to global officials, that money will be put toward drug-testing international athletes.
Source: The New York Times