Russia Faces Complete Ban From Rio Olympics

On Tuesday, the International Olympic Committee announced that it has created a disciplinary commission that will decide the fate of the Russian Olympic team.

The IOC on Monday received a final independent report headed by Richard McLaren that confirmed the World Anti Doping Agency’s earlier reports of widespread, high-reaching doping among Russian athletes, particularly in track and field. The report found that Russian laboratories destroyed positive drug tests and even stored clean urine samples to swap with samples laden with drugs.

Last month, the IOC upheld a ban on Russian track and field athletes at the 2016 Rio Olympics 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.

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.
CREDIT: REX Shutterstock.

The IOC said last month that it would potentially allow individual Russian track and field athletes who are thoroughly tested and prove that they have not participated in doping to compete, although the IAAF contradicted that statement, saying it would not consider individual participation.

The IOC said today that it has established the disciplinary commission to “explore the legal options with regard to a collective ban of all Russian athletes for the Olympic Games 2016 versus the right to individual justice.”

The commission was also created to accelerate the legal decisions, as the start to the Rio Olympics is less than three weeks away. So far, track and field athletes Yuliya Stepanova and Darya Klishina have been cleared to compete in Rio by the IAAF. Stepanova and her husband, who previously worked for Russia’s antidoping agency, spoke out in 2014 about state-run doping in Russia.

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