Russia’s Doping Scandal has Sparked More Punishments

Russian Athletes will not be allowed to compete under the Russian flag in any major sports events within the next four years.
Source: BBC Sports

Russian Athletes will not be allowed to compete under the Russian flag in any major sports events within the next four years. Source: BBC Sports

Kelli Mann

As a result of Russia’s doping scandal that has lasted for years, the World Anti-Doping Agency’s executive committee implemented the most severe punishment in history. The punishment banned Russian athletes from competing in all international athletic competitions within the next four years, including the 2020 Tokyo and 2022 Beijing Olympic games. In addition, Russia is also subject to a 100,000 dollar fine, the maximum fine that is legally allowed. 

After being banned from the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, Russia was eventually reinstated under certain circumstances in September of 2018. Unfortunately, earlier this year, Russian officials were once again caught altering the Moscow anti-doping data to throw WADA investigators off. Although the ban prevents formal attendance by Russian competitors, athletes that are capable of proving that they are clean and were not previously involved in the scandal will be enabled to compete as neutrals, under a neutral flag. WADA has given Russia and the Russian Anti-Doping Agency 21 days to either accept the punishments or battle the allegations and bring the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which would give the final say to the case.

A deputy in Russian parliament’s lower house and former Olympic speedskater, Svetlana Zhurove claims that according to Tass news agency, the RUSDA board is scheduled to meet on December 19th to decide whether or not they would accept the latest sanctions. “I am 100% sure [Russia will go to court] because we must defend our athletes,” Zhurove says. Along with the country itself, Russian boxers will also be fighting the punishments. According to the general of the Russian Boxing Federation, Russian boxers will only participate in the upcoming Olympics if the doping sanctions are lifted. The boxers refuse to compete as neutral athletes. 

“To allow Russia to escape a complete ban is yet another devastating blow to clean athletes, the integrity of sport and the rule of law,” says Travis Tygart, CEO of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. While on the other hand, the Russian Olympic committee claims that the punishments are “illogical and inappropriate.” In order for the Russia Anti-Doping Agency to be reinstated, WADA says that Russia must satisfy that RUSADA’s “independence is being respected and there is no improper outside interference with its operations”. This implies that the major problems in Russian athletics are not situated in its doping agency, but its sports and government agencies.