As punishment for Russia’s state-sponsored doping of its Olympic athletes, the International Olympic Committee has banned the country’s Olympic team from participating in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games. The doping scheme was brought to light by Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, the former director of Russia’s anti-doping laboratory, who blew the whistle on the illicit program in 2016.
In addition to excluding the Russian Olympic team, the IOC has forbidden Russian officials from attending the 2018 games and determined that the country’s flag will not be displayed, nor will its national anthem sound, at the opening ceremony. Although Russian athletes may receive special dispensation to compete, they will wear neutral uniforms and be referred to as “Olympic Athletes from Russia.” If these athletes win any medals, Russia will not receive credit.
Although the IOC’s ruling vindicates Dr. Rodchenkov, the vindication is bittersweet. Dr. Rodchenkov lives in hiding in the U.S. and his attorney, Jim Walden, reports that “he knows he is going to be looking over his shoulder for the rest of his life.” In February 2016, two other senior former Russian anti-doping officials, Nikita Kamayev and Vyacheslav Sinev, died suddenly within weeks of each other.
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