Russia Banned from Winter Olympics

The Russian Federation has recently been banned from attending the 2018 Winter Olympic games in PyeongChang South Korea by the International Olympic Committee.

The ban came because of an intricate doping scheme uncovered in Russia. It involved athletes of all different sports.

The scheme involved breaking into the Olympic labs to tamper with urine samples on direct orders from Russian officials, according to Rebecca R Ruiz of the New York Times.

One of the reasons the punishment is so severe and inclusive of all of Russia is because not only was it the athletes choosing to dope, but the actual Russian government was involved with the cheating.

As stated by Ruiz, “The country’s government officials are forbidden to attend, its flag will not be displayed at the opening ceremony and its anthem will not sound.”

In the past, amid doping scandals, only certain athletes have been banned, but this time it is all of Russia because it was not just the athletes involved; it was the official government as well.

Tanner O’Hara, a senior on Dimond’s hockey and cross country running teams said, “I don’t think this is that extreme of a punishment. A big part of sports is being able to compete and have it just be about who is the better athlete. Doping messes all that up, so there should definitely be some big punishments for it.”

Even though Russia as a whole has been banned, some athletes from Russia could still  have the chance of competing.

In order for Russian athletes to compete at these games, they must have a pristine record for doping and other drug tests. They also must have been tested very frequently in the past to prove that their pristine record is truly accurate, according to Ruiz.

If they are cleared to compete, they will only be able to do so wearing neutral uniforms and if they win, that win will not be attributed to Russia.

In typical years, the national anthem is played for the gold medalist of an event, but this year it will not be played even if someone from Russia wins Gold.

The medals will also not be counted for Russia, which means Russia will go down as having won no medals in this Olympics.

Senior Alden Butzke plays soccer for Dimond and pays a lot of attention to international sports.

He said, “I think it’s really important that this punishment is finally happening. A lot of people were really suspicious of the whole Russian team down in Rio and there were definitely some cases discovered even though the whole country wasn’t banned at that time. It’s good that the IOC is showing the rest of the world that this kind of stuff won’t be tolerated. It would kinda ruin sports if cheating were to become mainstream and tolerated.”

It is hard to say if the overall atmosphere at these Olympic games will be any different because of this ban, but the competition definitely will be.

Russia has often used the Olympics to try and show dominance in the world arena, and often they have been successful at proving strength.

There are some sports that Russia is usually a main competitor in, but this year the rankings may change with them gone.

Women’s cross country skiing and women’s figure skating are just two areas in which Russia has often been at the top.

This year, with them out of the running, some other teams may have the chance to move up or even take the crown.

This could definitely be a positive because some new teams may be able to have the incredible chance to win at the Olympics, but it can also be seen as a negative.

Ashley Johnson, a senior at South, said, “The whole point of the Olympics is to provide the most intense competition in the world, and if major contributors to that competition are banned, it will definitely have an impact.”

No one wants cheaters to be able to compete, but no one wants the competition to be decreased, either.