Russia Banned from 2020 Olympics Over Doping Scandal

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Russia has been handed a four-year ban from the World Anti-Doping Agency due to the country’s non-compliance with doping regulations. The organization’s compliance committee voted unanimously to pass the ban, effectively barring Russia from competing in the 2020 Olympics and the 2022 World Cup, as well as hosting major international sporting events. 

Russian whistleblower Dr. Grigory Rochenkov, who initially exposed the nation’s widespread doping scandal, praised the decision by WADA. “Finally, Russia’s many doping and obstruction sins will now get some of the punishment they richly deserve. For far too long, Russia has weaponized doping fraud and state-sponsored criminal activity as a tool of foreign policy,” said Rodchenkov via his lawyer Jim Walden, in a statement sent to CNN.

Russia will have 21 days to appeal to the decision, upon which the matter would be sent to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Svetlanda Zhurova, first deputy chairman of the Russian State Duma lower parliament state has suggested an appeal is highly likely, according to an interview she gave with TASS News Agency. 

In 2016, the McLaren Report uncovered a vast and sophisticated doping program going on at the highest levels of sports in Russia. The program was found to be state-sponsored, and a further investigation commissioned by Russia uncovered that the state conspired with athletes and sports officials to carry out the scheme. 

For now, the only way for Russian athletes to compete in international sporting events is to participate as a neutral athlete. This means athletes can compete in the Olympics or the World Cup, but the team can’t have any official ties to Russia. Any wins would not count for the country in official recordings. 

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