IOC bans Russia from competing in the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics

Silver Medal Winner Maria Sharapova

Note: I’m choosing to use Maria Sharapova’s photos in this post for many reasons. One, she’s Russian. Two, she already served a suspension from professional tennis for doping. Three, because I’m an idiot about most athletes, when I thought of “Russian athlete,” Sharapova was the first one to come to mind. Plus, she’s actually an Olympic medalist: she won Silver at the London Olympics in 2012.

Sharapova will not be playing at the Pyeongchang, South Korea Olympics in a few months because tennis is a Summer Olympics-sport (the 2018 Olympics are for Winter sports) and because Russia got their asses BANNED from the 2018 Olympics. Guess why? You’ll never guess! Oh, right, the state-sponsored sport programs in Russia are basically doping factories.

The International Olympic Committee has barred Russia from the Winter Olympics this February as punishment for its systematic doping but will allow some individual Russian athletes to take part under a neutral Olympic flag.

The IOC’s executive committee announced in a statement that it was barring Russia’s national Olympic committee from the Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The punishment, which will mean that no Russian athletes will compete under the country’s colors, came amid intense pressure to punish the country for its alleged state-sponsored cover-up of doping by its athletes. The penalty is unprecedented in Olympic history.

In a statement released after it met in Lausanne, Switzerland, the committee said it acted on the recommendations of an IOC commission headed by former Swiss President Samuel Schmid to investigate Russian doping. The statement said his report confirmed “the systemic manipulation of the anti-doping rules and system in Russia.”

At a press conference after the decision was announced, Schmid said his commission did not find any evidence that the Kremlin was aware of the doping cover-up, but the IOC banned Russia’s former sports minister and its current head of the national soccer association, Vitaly Mutko, for life from the Olympics, along with his former deputy Yuri Nagornykh.

The anti-doping agencies of 17 countries, including the United States, demanded the IOC impose a blanket ban, issuing a collective statement in September that it was time for the body to stop “paying lip service” to the anti-doping fight.

The IOC stopped short of that, instead saying that some Russian athletes will be permitted to compete in Pyeongchang under a specially created status, “Olympic athlete from Russia,” according to the IOC statement. Those athletes will have to be cleared an IOC panel that will confirm they have no doping violations on their records and that they have undergone sufficient testing. Athletes approved by the panel will compete in a uniform with “Olympic athlete from Russia” written on it and under an Olympic flag. The Olympic anthem will be played in place of Russia’s national anthem at medal ceremonies.

[From ABC News]

I’m sure there will be a lot of people (Russian bots?) arguing that doping is a way of life in professional sport and blah blah blah AMERICANS DO IT TOO and this is all some kind of anti-Russian conspiracy. While I believe that *some* athletes from *many* nations dope or have doped in the past, the sheer volume of Russian athletes doping is next-level. There’s been an excellent series of reporting around Russian doping for years, and many people forget that there were actually calls for Russia to be banned from the Rio Olympics too. And do you remember the Russian-organized hack of American Olympians following the Rio Olympics? That was like a harbinger of Russian shenanigans to come.

Maria Sharapova

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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35 Responses to “IOC bans Russia from competing in the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics”

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  1. Taxi says:

    Yippee!! Finally, a meaningful penalty!

  2. Clare says:

    Totally ban the dopers, but let’s not pretend like other national sports programmes aren’t also enormously problematic.

    A very sad example is the Chinese gymnastics programme. Or their diving programme. Little kids are not permitted to be kids so they can be little twisting flying machines. Athletes literally sob as winning silver. That is not what sport is about.

    I don’t even want to START on British cycling and a whole host of American teams.

    Yeah they may not be pumping their athletes full of performance enhancing drugs, but let’s be honest – competitive sport on a national scale is massively fucked up. There are many ways to exploit the system; doping is just one of them. And the athletes are the victims, almost universally.

    And just to be clear – I am NOT defending the Russian shenanigans.

    • Sixer says:

      I think the difference is that Russia has deliberately intervened with a doping program as an IOC, rather than on an individual level. It *is* different, you know?

      That said, I’m also highly cynical about the support given by other IOCs (including the UK and the US) to domestic and international sports programs which, if not outright cheating, are predicated on taking their athletes to a micrometre from the cheating line. Hello, Oregon Project and British Cycling and all the rest of you – I’m looking at you.

    • Maria F. says:

      i agree. There is doping in a lot of countries, some are just better at hiding it. At the end of the day, we will have several medals being withdrawn once the positive tests results come in….

    • Marlene says:

      And then there are the countries that are simply too poor to do regular drug testing of athletes. Lots of athletes (not just from those countries) take advantage of that, because they know they can go there and not be tested for months.

    • curious says:

      The blanket ban is highly questionable. Banning doped athletes – yes. But basically russian athletes all got banned without them being able to have a proper trial. Usually guilty/not guilty has to be proven for each individual athlete. But now they just ban them all?

      And doping in American Football and NBA? It is surprising how many AFL athletes and NBA athletes need braces to close tooth gaps in their twenties.

  3. Lucha says:

    Also remember that Russia was in fact banned at the PARAlympics in Rio 2016

  4. Lolo86lf says:

    A bit off topic here: The World Cup will be in Russia next year, and I do wonder if the national team should be tested for doping as well.

    • DazLondon says:

      A couple of Russian football players have been caught doping in the past 10 years.
      But Fifa act like it isn’t a problem. Their view is 1 or 2 caught doping isn’t proof of a systemic problem.
      But Fifa only tests 1 or 2 players after every game, never a whole team.

  5. DazLondon says:

    Fifa still acting like the world cup in Russia isn’t a problem.

  6. Alexandria says:

    So where’s the obligatory blame on evil Hillary?

  7. DazLondon says:

    The article also doesn’t mention that Russia murdered a couple of people to try and keep this all quiet. And the third important russian guy involved in all of this is know in the witness protection program in America.

  8. Felicia says:

    I feel sorry for the althletes.

    That said, if the great Orange One keeps up with the North Korea rhetoric, South Korea might be a radioactive wasteland by then. The Chinese seem to have decided to make it known that they are not a neutral party in regards to that situation.

  9. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    “While I believe that *some* athletes from *many* nations dope or have doped in the past, the sheer volume of Russian athletes doping is next-level.”

    I believe this, but I also believe we’re better at hiding it… especially distribution.

    • curious says:

      It is difficult to make reliable statements about quantity when you don’t have any data.

      I am German and I am quite sure that there are a lot of well-doped German and European athletes. There were interviews with doctors in the newspapers after the last Olympics and they basically said that the testing just wasn’t done properly (not regularly and not all athletes) and that the better the pharmaceutical industry in your country the better the doping.

  10. Arock says:

    the IOC is more proactive on Russian meddling within a regulated construct than the American government. No shocker just, you know….*looks at the ceiling and screams, takes a deep breath*….
    But huge sympathy for all the athletes that devote their lives to their sport.

  11. littlemissnaughty says:

    No, come on. So now we’re Russian bots if we point out that Russia is not the only offendor? To act like the IOC banning Russia isn’t like FIFA banning a national team for corruption is so naive. Russia’s doping program is definitely one of the worst but by how much? Nobody knows. The testing that’s done is laughable and as long as there’s money in sport, this won’t change. Just because the rampant doping in cycling wasn’t state sponsored doesn’t make it less of a problem.

    If we all want to harp on the fact that this was state intervention … someone needs to look at China. Do we really think that the Chinese government isn’t the one running the show?

    • lala says:

      THIS. But yet again, another good example of double standards. Sport has become political issue to the extend I could not imagine even 10 or 15 years ago. I totally agree with banning those ones who were caught in doping, but why ban the whole team? It does demoralize athletes who spent at least the last four years working their asses off, it is so unfair. And then…if you ban the Russian National Team, then just ban it…without this miserable idea of them performing not under russian flag.

    • curious says:

      Well, as for the testing:
      The testing is random. That means: not all athletes are tested and they aren’t tested regularly. And don’t tell me that certain countries didn’t get a warning … they got tested when the tests were convenient.

      Banning all russian athletes is a gross violation of modern justice. Guilty/not guilty has to be proven for every accused athlete individually. Blanket bans are politically motivated.

  12. Eric says:

    Hey @realdonaldjtrump,
    Someone had the balls to stand up to Russians who cheat.

    How bout you?

  13. Other Renee says:

    Could this be the start of the end of the Olympics? I hope not.

  14. adastraperaspera says:


  15. Nene says:

    Im all for banning individual dopers but a blanket ban and making clean Russian athletes represent a ‘neutral’ flag, is very problematic. And im very suspicious about the ‘impartiality’ of the IOC.

    As someone who is from a country where Russians arent automatically ‘the bad guys’ , this whole situation makes me sympathetic towards the clean Russian athletes and as a huge football fan, I hope Russia does well hosting the World Cup.

    Call me a Russian-bot, whatever.

    • curious says:

      I agree.
      A blanket ban because they are russian? Is that even legal? Usually you can’t just get punished just because you haver a certain citizenship. Usually guilty/not guilty has to be proven for every individual.

  16. JustJen says:

    Oh c’mon, you couldn’t have googled a Russian athlete that competes in winter sports? You used Maria’s picture because you can’t stand her.

    I read that team sports are still being allowed though, like hockey and curling. **I find it hard to believe and might actually fall out of my chair if someone on a curling team was doping. That’s more boring to watch than paint drying.

  17. curious says:

    What Are Some Examples of Legal Performance Enhancing Substances that Athletes Are Allowed to Use?

    Doping in the United States

    Olympic Athletes Still Use Some Rx Drugs As A Path To ‘Legal Doping’

    USA Gymnastics: Simone Biles justified in use of banned substance to treat ADHD

    Basically most US athletes have “conditions” which require them to consume copious amounts of pharmaceuticals which coincidentally have a performance-enhancing effect. But because the IOC does allow athletes to consume pharmaceuticals which the athletes “need” … it goes unpunished.

    That is why a certain famous black US-gymnast is on ADHD medication which does enhance concentration and has a slight weight-loss effect. I suppose she will no longer “suffer” from that condition after her retirement.

    • curious says:

      So if you want to do doping just find a doctor who certifies that you have some condition … a LOT OF athletes have asthma – because the medication for asthma makes breathing easier.

    • Merritt says:

      Interesting how you picked on a black athlete instead of on one of the other Americans with a medical waiver.

    • Reef says:

      The girl has an impossible move named after her because she’s the only one on Earth that can do it and your claim is because she’s using Adderall for her obvious ADHD she’s legally doping therefore cheating like the entire Russian program. I mean…that’s an interesting claim.

    • whatever says:


      The thing is, I’m sure that Russian athletes also have a tonne of TUE’s between them to take legal performance enhancing drugs too. But Fancy Bears’ only released the TUE’s of some barely known Russian athletes while simultaneously releasing the TUE’s of well known athletes from the USA, UK and other countries. Seems like they were trying to deflect the suspicion from Russia. I just cannot believe that Russia is the only country in the world where its athletes have never requested the use of the Therapeutic Use of Exemption to take legal performance enhancing drugs.

      So if you are going to point out that lots of US athletes have “conditions” you should also spend time wondering why organisations like Fancy Bears are purposely trying to hide the “conditions” of Russian athletes.

      Personally I’d love to see Sharapova’s history of TUE’s, i’m sure she has a stack of them but I won’t count on Fancy Bears ever releasing them!

  18. Trump Hater says:

    IVe found it curious, why has Russia been hosting a lot of major international sporting events the last few years? The Sochi Olympics in 2014 and now FIFA World Cup? They are a corrupt and an economically struggling country, so who are they paying off and where are they getting the money to do these payoffs? Their atheletes are proven cheaters, so who are they paying off to host these prestigious international events?

  19. Crystal says:

    I am rather excited about this ban. If no one has taken the time, please watch the documentary Icarus. The filmmaker accidentally stumbled into Russian doping while researching it in cycling, it is a good look at doping as a whole in all sports as well as why Russia is being particularly focused on here and why individual bans will not be effective (they have a developed program to avoid testing detection as well as the sample swapping). They have refused to turn over any documents, samples, etc and instead started their own “independent” investigation which is run by, surprise, all Russians. They are threatening to kill the whistleblowers and are claiming the head scientist surprise drugged all the athletes with performance enhancers all by himself, with no direction or state pressure or other parties involved. They have had opportunities to handle the issue, they have chosen not to.

    This is not to say any countries are not doping. I believe they all are. It is very easy to dope through loopholes and the methods detailed in the documentary. Russia just tripped up very visibly.