All 387 Russian athletes that were to compete in the Rio Olympics game, will be banished from participating, according to the International Olympic Committee. A state-sponsored doping program by Russia has led to the team – who were already banned from the game – from now being completely barred from competing.
This is an unprecedented event, as it is one of the biggest bans in Olympic history. The controversy stems from the country’s lack of protocol, sponsorship of doping programs, as well as President Vladimir Putin’s sports ministry handing out concoctions of steroids and other narcotics to bolster the performance of Olympic hopefuls. Reports also show that the ministry was actively covering up reports of tainted urine samples. This has far-reaching implications, as the International Olympic Committee wants to also ban Russia from participating in the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. An insider has noted that the committee wants to make an example of Russia, showing that doping and steroid use is a direct assault on the integrity of the Olympic Games.
Many officials do not want to unfairly ban Russian athletes who have taken the proper procedure to train for the Olympics. A small number of Russian athletes who have trained abroad and are free from the corrupt influence of Russia, may be offered leniency to compete. However, Russian athletes who are chosen to participate will have to do so under a neutral flag. It is currently unclear if President Vladimir Putin will boycott the decision.