The International Olympic Committee met Tuesday to determine whether or not Russia would be prohibited from participating in the 2016 Rio Olympics. A recent report revealed a sophisticated system arranged by the Russia government to cover up performance enhancing drug use by Russian athletes during the 2014 Sochi Olympics. The World Anti-Doping Agency has recommended that the International Olympic and Paralympic committees ban all Russian athletes from the Rio games. Russian athletes have been left in a state of limbo as the committee states they will not ban the athletes at this time but will continue to “explore legal options” and the possibility of a “blanket ban” against Russian athletes.
The International Olympic Committee, or IOC, has stated that the will continue to evaluate the report to fully understand the situation before making a decision. They have stated that they will not organize or back any sports events or competitions in Russia as a result of doping scandal. According to the report government sponsored doping wasn’t limited to just the Sochi games. It has been revealed that more than 500 tests in almost 30 sports over a number of years have been affected by Russian athletes cheating with the aid of the Russian government.
Travis Tygart, head of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency states that the only way to restore credibility to the Olympic games is to ban all 400 Russian athletes. He is a leading advocate for the banning of all Russian athletes unless individuals can prove, beyond all reasonable doubt, that they did not take performance enhancing drugs. Tygart told reporters:
“It’s unprecedented. A new level of criminality and the only way you can restore the promise of the Olympic dreams is to exclude the Russian delegation from the Olympics and give individual athletes who can prove that they were not part of the system an opportunity to compete under a neutral flag,”
The report revealed that the Russian governement went to great lengths to pass the drug-using athletes off as clean competitors. The strategy used to swap out the tainted urine samples is reminiscent of a plan from a dramatic spy film. The government set up the testing lab, which was supposed to be secure, directly next to an “empty” office occupied by Russia’s Federal Security Service. A “mouse hole” was then drilled through the wall where agents and lab technicians could swap out the contaminated urine with clean samples.
The Olympic games open in approximately two weeks, giving the IOC a limited amount of time to make their decision to ban all Russian athletes or allow them to appeal and prove their innocence on an individual basis. Russian athletes will continue to train for the games until a decision is made.