There is finally evidence that Russia “colluded” in order to give their side an advantage — but the news has nothing to do with the last election.
Instead, it has everything to do with the next Olympics. The International Olympic Committee has just announced that Russia will be completely banned from the 2018 Winter Games, which are set to take place in South Korea.
The bombshell ruling came after an investigation showed that a state-run doping program used banned substances such as steroids to boost the performance of athletes.
It appears that this method of cheating was built into the official Russian team as an active government plan, making it far more serious than if a handful of athletes had been individually doping.
“The scheme was rivaled perhaps only by the notorious program conducted by East Germany throughout the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s,” reported The New York Times on Tuesday.
For lack of a better term, all references to Russia at the upcoming Olympic Games will be essentially erased.
“The country’s government officials are forbidden to attend, its flag will not be displayed at the opening ceremony and its anthem will not sound,” explained the Times.
Several athletes from Russia may still be allowed to compete, but they will be doing so as individuals, not as part of any official national team. That means that they will be forced to wear a neutral uniform, and any medals won by these competitors will not count as Russian wins in the record books.
It is likely that only Russian athletes who have a past history of submitting to rigorous drug testing will be permitted at the games, and decisions on which competitors are allowed will be made on a case by case basis by the IOC.
A key factor in the decision to exclude Russia was that investigators uncovered a complex scheme used to bypass anti-doping testing during the 2014 games. The location of that competition in Sochi, Russia made it easier for the government-backed team to cheat.
“In an elaborate overnight operation at the 2014 Sochi Games, a team assembled by Russia’s sports ministry tampered with more than 100 urine samples to conceal evidence of top athletes’ steroid use throughout the course of competition,” reported The New York Times.
“More than two dozen Russian athletes have been disqualified from the Sochi standings as a result, and Olympic officials are still sorting through the tainted results and rescinding medals.”
Russia is currently in second place for total Olympic medals won throughout history. If both Soviet and post-Soviet medals are counted, the country has won 1,744 bronze, silver, and gold medals since the games began. The U.S.A. has won 2,804.
However, Russia is number one when it comes to cheating in the prestigious games.
According to Radio Free Europe, Russia has by far the highest number of banned athletes, with 71 competitors excluded from the games before this latest announcement. Only 16 Americans have ever been banned.
The Olympic games are supposed to be a place of international goodwill and sportsmanship, where political and cultural disagreements are set aside for an even playing field and a fair contest.
Russia’s cheating has tainted that goodwill, and it may have an impact beyond the 2018 games.
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