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Russia Banned from the 2018 Winter Olympics

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On Dec. 5, an announcement was released that Russia was banned from the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. Investigations showed that Russia executed the most severe doping in the history of the Olympics. This information also disclosed that this doping was state-endorsed by the leaders of the Russian Olympic Team.

The punishment will include the banning of the Russian flag and national anthem at the opening ceremonies, as well as prohibiting athletes from competing under the name of the Russian team. There was also a fine of $15 million placed on the Russian Olympic Committee. If there is still a desire to participate in the 2018 Olympics, athletes must receive special permission to compete as individuals. After rigorous drug testing and screening for previous offenses, athletes are required to wear a neutral uniform, associated with no other country. The number of athletes who may not pass these tests may cause a whole sport to be left out of the games, even for the neutral team. In addition, the Olympic record book will not include any of the medals they win–Russia will be marked with zero medals in 2018.

The severity of the doping was unprecedented, as no team had ever come close to the illegal actions of this Russian team. The doping was carried out not only through the use of team-provided substances, but also through the Olympic laboratory— the facility used during the Olympics to frequently test the athletes. Russia’s laboratory covered up the use of substances throughout the games. Evidence of the manipulation of tests was uncovered and revealed that many athletes should have actually been disqualified during the last Olympic Games.

Immediately after the release of this information, there was discussion by Russian President Vladimir Putin about whether or not Russia would boycott the 2018 Olympics altogether. Although no final decision has been made, it is not out of the question that the president would do this. According to Olympic officials, they may end the banning period in time for the closing ceremonies and Russia’s flag could be flown.

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