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IOC Will Lift Russian Ban If No Doping Violations Occur

March 2, 2018

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) continued its punishment on Russia during the closing ceremony of the PyeongChang Games. The IOC Russia ban resulted in the country’s athletes parading with the neutral Olympic flag instead of their proud tricolor flag because of two doping incidents.

The doping violation incidents, however, were not nationally sponsored. This means Russia can still return to the Olympics if the country continues to follow the terms of its punishment set by the IOC.

Why Russia Was Still Banned at the Closing Ceremony

The IOC banned the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) at PyeongChang because of systematic doping sponsored by the Russian government at Sochi in 2014. Despite the sanctions, Russian athletes deemed clean by the committee were allowed to participate in Winter Olympics 2018 under the Olympic athletes from Russia (OAR) flag.

Alexander Krushelnitsky in Curling Event in Winter Olympics 2018IOC officials were satisfied with Russia following the terms of Committee’s ban during the PyeongChang games. But the decision for upholding the ban at the end of the Winter Olympics is due to the doping violations done by Alexander Krushelnitsky and Nadezhda Sergeeva.

The two athletes’ positive test results drew flak from the Institute of the National Anti-Doping Organizations (NADO). It said that the lift of Russia’s ban at the Olympics can result in the outrage of clean athletes around the world.

According to a statement made by NADO:

“By failing to impose a meaningful sanction on [Russia’s Olympic committee], the IOC would be culpable in this effort to defraud clean athletes of the world. Clean athletes continue to raise concerns and are understandably frustrated with the equivocal stance of the IOC when it comes to the systemic doping in Russia.”

Krushelnitsky is an OAR athlete who competed in the mixed doubles curling event. He tested positive for meldonium, a drug that increases a person’s blood flow. The Russian curling federation said that he unintentionally took meldonium when someone slipped the drug into his drink or food before the event. Russia’s curling officials intend to investigate this incident. At the time of the violation incident, Alexander surrendered his bronze medal and did not dispute the test findings.

Another OAR athlete who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs was Sergeeva. She tested positive for the heart stimulant Trimetazidinze which also increases blood flow.

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Possibility of Russia’s Return to the Olympics

PyeongChang was a compromise for Russia. Apart from having its athletes walk under the OAR flag, the country’s athletes only won two golds, six silvers, and nine bronzes this year. This is a significant contrast to Sochi 2014 wherein Russia snatched 11 golds, nine silvers, and nine bronzes. The ROC’s main aim is to clean the country’s reputation in PyeongChang.

The committee said:

“In light of the situation, we consider that the restoration of the rights of the ROC and all Russian athletes will be the main result of the Olympic Games that are ending today.”

Fortunately for Russia, the IOC’s suspicion on state-sponsored doping activities in Russia lessened during this year’s Winter Olympics, especially because the two doping violations during PyeongChang were isolated cases. IOC officials do not see any national sponsored doping done by Russia’s officials. As long as Russia continues to follow doping regulations and not violate any of them, the country’s athletes will walk proudly with their tricolor flag in the next Olympic Games.

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