Russia banned from International sport for four years 

The logo of the World Anti-Doping Agency who banned Russia for International sport.

World Anti-Doping Agency

The logo of the World Anti-Doping Agency who banned Russia for International sport.

  You won’t see many Russian athletes this Olympic season. The World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) executive committee held up the WADA’s compliance review committee’s (CRC) recommendation to ban Russia from all major international competitions for four years on December 9. The ban occurred because the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) did not cooperate with the investigation into Russian sports. 

  The ban means that at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, and the World Cup in 2022, Russian athletes will have to compete under a neutral flag and not be allowed to wear their country’s uniform. Also, Russian national anthem will not be sung and the flag will not be raised if they win. Possibly the most detrimental effect of the ban, Russia will not be allowed to host any major sporting events. 

  President of the WADA, Sir Craig Reddie, said, “Russia was afforded every opportunity to get its house in order and rejoin the global anti-doping community for the good of its athletes and of the integrity of sport, but it chose instead to continue in its stance of deception and denial… As a result, the WADA ExCo [executive committee] has responded in the strongest possible terms, while protecting the rights of Russian athletes that can prove that they were not involved and did not benefit from these fraudulent acts.” The RUSADA was first found non-compliant after the 2016 McLaren report. 

  The 2016 McLaren report was published by the WADA. According to the New York Times the report shows “proof of Russia’s systematic doping, and implicating more than 1,000 athletes in at least 30 sports.” The findings of the report led to the banning of Russia from competing at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, unless they could prove they were clean and agreed to compete under a neutral flag.  

  The CEO of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) Travis Tygart claimed, “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. And, in turn, the reaction by all those who value sport should be nothing short of a revolt against this broken system to force reform …WADA promised the world back in 2018 that if Russia failed yet again to live up to its agreements, it would use the toughest sanction under the rules. Yet, here we go again; WADA says one thing and does something entirely different.”  

  With the Summer Olympics coming up in 2020, it will be interesting to see how many Russian athletes are allowed to participate under a neutral flag.