Winter IOC bans Russia from 2018 Olympics; WADA bans Russia from 2020 & 2022 Olympics

Bomberboyokay

Hall of Famer
Sep 27, 2014
30,778
26,234
AFL Club
Essendon
Other Teams
New York Rangers, West Ham
IOC prepares to decide whether to ban Russia from 2018 Winter Olympics

By Dan Roan
BBC sports editor

4 December 2017


The eyes of the sporting world will be on the International Olympic Committee's headquarters in Lausanne on Tuesday evening when President Thomas Bach announces whether he and his board have banned Russia from the 2018 Winter Olympics.

For an Olympic powerhouse nation, the hosts of the next football World Cup no less, to be cast as an international sporting pariah, would be unprecedented.

But just 66 days before Pyeongchang 2018 starts on 9 February, the signs point to Bach doing precisely that.

The German and his board will have spent the afternoon poring over the findings and recommendations of a 16-month investigation headed up by the former president of Switzerland, Samuel Schmid.

His team have been looking into the allegations of government involvement in the cheating when Russia hosted the last Winter Games in Sochi in 2014, and deciding whether there is enough evidence to conclude that this is indeed what happened, despite repeated denials.

Certainly this is one of the biggest decisions the IOC has ever taken, and the most important moment yet in the doping saga that has cast a shadow over the Olympic movement.

We have been here before, of course.

On the eve of the 2016 Rio Games, the IOC came under huge pressure to ban the Russian team from the Olympics after an independent report by Canadian law professor Richard McLaren concluded the country had engaged in a state-sponsored doping conspiracy that benefitted 1,000 athletes across 30 sports between 2012 and 2015.

Despite this, the IOC could not bring itself to do so, handing responsibility for sanctions to the various international sporting federations, meaning hundreds of athletes competed, and 56 medals were won.

So why should things be any different this time around?

Despite initial fears that Bach's close relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin - and a lack of proof that would satisfy legal requirements - may mean the IOC could try to swerve a ban and resort to a hefty fine as an alternative means of punishing Russia, matters first started to look bleak for the country last month.

That was when the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) decided the country's anti-doping agency Rusada was still non-compliant with its rules.

This was accompanied by a breakthrough in evidence, with Wada obtaining what it said was a Russian laboratory database which it felt corroborated McLaren's conclusions.

Re-tests of Russian athletes' samples, meanwhile, resulted in a host of retrospective bans and stripping of medals, costing the country its position at the top of the Sochi 2014 medal table.

Twenty five Russians have now been banned in the last month.

And then, last week, another IOC commission, led by Swiss lawyer Denis Oswald, which has been looking into re-tests of samples from Sochi and the individual cases of alleged doping, crucially gave its full backing to evidence provided by Dr Grigory Rodchenkov, the key whistleblower in the scandal, describing him as a "truthful witness".

Having published its reasoned decision in the case of the cross-country skier Alexander Legkov, the commission also revealed a diary kept by Rodchenkov - the former head of the Wada-accredited anti-doping laboratories in Moscow and Sochi and a central figure in the conspiracy - was also described as "significant evidence".

The diary detailed alleged meetings Rodchenkov says he had with Russia's Deputy Prime Minister and former Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko to discuss the doping programme.

Mutko has always denied being involved, vehemently rejected the suggestion that the cheating was in any way state-sponsored, and has cast the saga as a Western conspiracy, unfairly singling out Russia.

The stakes are extremely high in Lausanne.

Despite a denial on Monday from a Kremlin spokesman, some observers believe that if the IOC follows the example set by athletics' governing body the IAAF and the International Paralympic Committee, both of which only allowed Russian athletes who could prove they were clean to compete as neutrals at the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics, there could be a boycott.

With his country's presidential election looming next year, Putin may not tolerate the idea of an Olympics with no Russian flag or anthem, and order his athletes to stay at home, rather than compete under a white flag.

Bach, already under significant pressure from national anti-doping agencies to come down heavily on Russia, and aware of the need to be seen to act decisively and in the interests of the future of the Olympic movement following recent IOC corruption allegations, could now be ready to take that risk.

Plenty of Russians would be dismayed by such an outcome.

"It would be unfair," former Olympic speed-skating champion and politician Svetlana Zhurova told BBC Sport from her office in the Duma, the Russian parliament.

"I cannot advise the IOC, they know better than me, but I hope they will remember about the young and clean athletes for whom this will be their first Games.

"You feel so proud when you see your flag, it's very important for yourself and your country. It has to be individual responsibility, not collective.

"Our anti-doping programmes and legislation have improved. Things have changed a lot and everyone in Russia understands that doping is evil.

"For any sport, it's very important that all countries are there and if you win you know you are the best in the world. For the IOC it's a very hard decision and I hope they calculate and make the right decision for innocent clean, Russian athletes."

Others, however, disagree.

Former Wada president Dick Pound told the BBC: "I think it's a real tipping point, you've got to walk the walk as well as to talk the talk. You can't say we're at zero tolerance for doping in Olympic sport … unless it's Russia.

"I mean your credibility is shot so they've got to say we're a principle organisation, here are the facts, the conduct was unacceptable and a country acting in that manner should not be allowed to participate in the next Games.

"I think we missed an opportunity in Rio... Certainly all the recent indications are there will be strong action… this stuff in Sochi was a direct attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games and the IOC president has recently been starting to focus in on that and saying this is a direct attack on the integrity of the world's most important international competition, there will have to be strong measures.

"We'll see whether he follows through."

Last week in Moscow, as Russia tried desperately to focus on the prestige that comes with hosting the World Cup, and football's world governing body Fifa attempted to pretend none of this mattered to the credibility of their flagship event, I managed to ask Mutko directly if he expected Russia to be banned by the IOC, just four days after the draw.

He angrily suggested that the BBC and New York Times would know before him, and then suggested Russia was being unfairly criticised by the Western media, just like it was before the Sochi Games.

He spoke like a man who suspected that Russia may have run out of chances.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/winter-olympics/42224731
 
Last edited:

(Log in to remove this ad.)

Catters 070911

Club Legend
Oct 13, 2017
2,270
2,084
AFL Club
Geelong
I have never liked blanket bans.

By all means, suspend those who are drug cheats, but you can't ban a whole country, based on the actions of a few.

Let's play hypothetical. Say that there is a 14-year-old Russian gymnast, who is facing her first Olympics. It has been her dream, and she has worked hard for years for it.

Now, in gymnastics, you have a small window to compete. The Olympics after that, she will be eighteen, and too old to be a gymnast. This is her one shot, her one chance.

Then the Russian sanction comes down. Now this girl in this example, misses out on ever competing in an Olympics, despite not being found to have taken anything, because where she is born.

Now, if she is clean, then why should she be banned? But even if there was a program where all athletes are injected, her being fourteen means that there was coercion, so she can't be held responsible for what others have ordered.

I don't care about those who do the wrong thing, but why should those who do the right thing also be punished, because of where they are born. WADA should investigate harder, and go after those who cheat, instead of the lazy way of banning everyone, and then you have to prove your innocence.

If this happened in Australia, imagine the outrage. But because it is the Russians, who have always been portrayed as "bad guys" in popular media, we automatically believe them to be cheats.

Test everyone, and ban those who fail.
 

Underarm

Norm Smith Medallist
Feb 13, 2011
8,338
9,456
AFL Club
Richmond
I have never liked blanket bans.

By all means, suspend those who are drug cheats, but you can't ban a whole country, based on the actions of a few.

Let's play hypothetical. Say that there is a 14-year-old Russian gymnast, who is facing her first Olympics. It has been her dream, and she has worked hard for years for it.

Now, in gymnastics, you have a small window to compete. The Olympics after that, she will be eighteen, and too old to be a gymnast. This is her one shot, her one chance.

Then the Russian sanction comes down. Now this girl in this example, misses out on ever competing in an Olympics, despite not being found to have taken anything, because where she is born.

Now, if she is clean, then why should she be banned? But even if there was a program where all athletes are injected, her being fourteen means that there was coercion, so she can't be held responsible for what others have ordered.

I don't care about those who do the wrong thing, but why should those who do the right thing also be punished, because of where they are born. WADA should investigate harder, and go after those who cheat, instead of the lazy way of banning everyone, and then you have to prove your innocence.

If this happened in Australia, imagine the outrage. But because it is the Russians, who have always been portrayed as "bad guys" in popular media, we automatically believe them to be cheats.

Test everyone, and ban those who fail.
The option for the clean athletes to compete is still there, under the Neutral Olympic Banner. They just have to prove their innocence, rather than have their guilt proven.
 

Catters 070911

Club Legend
Oct 13, 2017
2,270
2,084
AFL Club
Geelong
The option for the clean athletes to compete is still there, under the Neutral Olympic Banner. They just have to prove their innocence, rather than have their guilt proven.

Which is ridiculous in itself.

In most countries, you are INNOCENT until PROVEN GUILTY.

But WADA are a cowboy operation who follow their own rules. They are a bunch of never-weres who couldn't do it themselves, so try to bring down other athletes to make themselves feel good.

Why should a hypothetical 14-year old girl have to prove that she didn't take something? She either failed a drug test or she didn't. If WADA can't provide proof, I have no problem with letting the athlete compete.

How does one go about proving their innocence? I mean, not failing a drug test should be enough. How does someone prove that they are NOT a cheat?

It is easier to prove guilt than to prove innocence. All WADA need to do is provide samples that show that there are banned substances in someone's urine.

The fact is, WADA get away with their "guilty until proven innocence" stance because of apathy. You have a carnivorous media, who like to make accusations without proof, to fill newspapers and get hits on their website, and a public who are jealous that they were never good enough to compete, and seeing a sportsperson fall makes them feel better about themselves. Plus you have sport now governed by betting, so it is the punter crying foul because they backed the wrong horse (I bet if a punter put money on someone who cheated, they wouldn't have a problem if they are never caught). No-one actually cares whether the athlete is truly innocent or not, as long as society benefits from the narrative, and looks strong in stamping out drug cheats, and if a few innocent sportspeople lose their career as a result, then so be it. I mean, fans only see these performers as performing seals who are there to entertain them, like a king who demands that the court jester entertain him. Once you got what you want out of these people, they get thrown on the scrap heap.

The truth of innocence is lost amongst a drug organisation who need big scalps to justify continuing to get government funding, a media who need to papers sold, ratings and internet hits, and a public who use these sportspeople and then thrown them away once they are finished with them, and once they stop making money betting on them.

WADA are a law unto themselves with no accountability, while an apathetic public turn a blind eye.
 

Top Bottom