IOC Will Not Impose Collective Ban On Russian Olympic Athletes

Russia Track And Field Ban
Sergey Shubenkov of Russia celebrating his victory in 110-meter hurdles final at the World Championships in Beijing in August 2015.
REX Shutterstock.

The International Olympic Committee on Sunday decided against a collective ban of all Russian Olympic athletes.

This comes just weeks after Russia’s track and field athletes were banned from competing in Rio after several investigations found evidence of widespread, state-sponsored doping among those athletes. The IOC chose to uphold a ban put in place by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the governing body of international track and field. The IAAF outlined criteria Russia would need to meet in order to restore its integrity and be cleared to compete in Rio, but ultimately decided that Russia had not met those guidelines.

Last week, the IOC created a disciplinary commission to decide the fate of all Russian athletes following a final independent report headed by Richard McLaren that confirmed the World Anti Doping Agency’s earlier report of doping. The McLaren report found that Russian laboratories destroyed positive drug tests and even stored clean urine samples to swap with samples laden with drugs.

Russia Track and Field Maria Kuchina of Russia during the women’s high jump final at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing in August 2015. REX Shutterstock.

With the Rio Olympics just 12 days away, the IOC’s disciplinary commission was meant to expedite the process of deciding what to do about the rest of Russia’s athletes. But the IOC decided to place athletes’ fates in the hands of their individual International Federations (IFs), the governing bodies of each sport recognized by the IOC. This allows the potential for the IFs to choose to ban Russian athletes from individual sports. Athletes will have to prove to their IF that they have had a drug-free past.

The IOC also said that the Russian Olympic Committee is not allowed to enter any athletes to compete in Rio who have previously been sanctioned for doping, even if that athlete has already served his or her sanction.

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