Russia has been banned from competing in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea in February 2018.
How did this happen?
A scandal broke out after the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. People accused Russian athletes of using drugs to make themselves perform better. This is called doping, and it’s against the rules of the Olympics and most tournaments.
What do these drugs do? They are medicines that have other uses, but can make people stronger or faster.
An investigation by the World Anti-Doping Agency led people to believe that Russian athletes have been taking these performance-enhancers since 2011. A report also found evidence that Russia’s government supported this.
How can you tell if someone has used these drugs? All athletes competing in International tournaments have to undergo many routine blood and urine tests. If they have taken these drugs, there will be traces found in the blood or urine.
So how could they hide this? The report says that the urine samples were tampered with, and that the Russian laboratories testing the samples were also changing positive results to negative on the reports.
The International Olympic Committee has said that since Russia has cheated, the country will not be allowed to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics. However, Russian athletes who can prove they are clean and have not been previously red-flagged will be allowed to compete under a neutral flag bearing the name ‘Olympic Athlete from Russia’.
How has Russia reacted to these allegations? Local Russian television channels are protesting this decision and have said these accusations are not true. #NoRussiaNoGames they say!
Now the sports world will wait to see how Russia responds. Some Russian officials had threatened to boycott if the I.O.C. delivered such a severe punishment! Stay tuned for more.