Russian athletes banned in doping scandal


Russian Government

Dimitry Medvedev

Colton Kersey, Opinions Editor

Russia has received a four-year ban from all major sporting events by the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA). This ban includes events like the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics as well as the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. This doping scandal arises after it was revealed that Russia’s Anti Doping League had manipulated the data sent to investigators.

This ban means that the Russian flag and national anthem will not be played at these events, however, Russian athletes who wish to compete in these events still can if they disprove their involvement in doping and they compete under a neutral flag.

168 Russian athletes competed in the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics under a neutral flag and Russia as a nation has been banned from competing in world athletics since 2015 when it was revealed that Russia’s Anti Doping League was the center of a doping scandal sponsored by the Kremlin in which tainted samples were swapped for clean ones through a hole in the wall. Uncoincidentally, the 2014 Sochi Olympics had 33 Russian medalists, 13 of which were gold.

Russian authorities have been opposing the ban with Russian Prime Minister Dimitry Medvedev, saying the ban was part of a “chronic anti-Russian hysteria.’ Medvedev admitted that Russian athletes have a doping problem, but added, “But on the other hand, the fact that all these decisions are repeated, often affecting athletes who have already been punished in one way or another, not to mention some other points — of course this makes one think that this is part of anti-Russian hysteria which has become chronic.”

On the other hand, WADA vice president Linda Helleland said the ban was not enough. ‘I wanted sanctions that can not be watered down,” she said. “We owe it to the clean athletes to implement the sanctions as strongly as possible.”