Russia has found themselves banned from competition in the Winter Olympics.
The Olympic games is considered to be the absolute pinnacle of sporting events, leading the charge and setting an example to many competitive events including bodybuilding and mixed martial arts. The games were created with the idea in mind to crown the best of the best athletes in individual categories. The presentation, the spectacle, all of it has inspired so many great athletes and promoters alike to break through barriers and achieve greatness.
So when it was announced that Russia had been caught administering performance enhancing drugs to their athletes, it came as a major blow to the integrity of the Olympic games. As such, the International Olympic Committee has seen fit to take action against Russia for this unprecedented doping scandal. The I.O.C. has decided to ban Russia from the 2018 Winter Olympics.
It’s the first time in the history of the Olympic Games that such a move has been deemed necessary and all of it in the hopes of bringing back honest competition between athletes. But the decision to bar Russia from competing in the Winter Olympics also serves as a major wake up call to would-be dopers.
While Russia may be barred from competing, the I.O.C. has left the door open for individual athletes to petition for the right to compete at the South Korean Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang. But there’s a catch. Those athletes who have undergone rigorous doping tests and have showed integrity throughout their sporting careers will indeed have an opportunity to compete, but must do so from a position of neutrality. In other words, those Russian athletes who compete must do so wearing neutral colors and essentially compete as an individual.
This ban has led to speculation that Russia will boycott the Winter Olympics in a show of united and civil retaliation. For now it’s a waiting game to see what happens next.
With so many athletes competing from around the world, it is rather difficult to ensure that every event is devoid of dopers. In reality there are still going to be athletes that slip through the cracks from time to time. It’s an unfortunate truth that both athletes and fans are going to have to accept. But that doesn’t mean action can’t be taken against those who would choose to taint the sport through their usage of PEDs. Shining a light on this doping scandal will only help to clean things up.