Thursday, February 22, 2018 | ePaper
Russia await decision on Winter Olympics ban for doping
Doping-tainted Russia's 2018 Winter Olympics participation will be decided when the International Olympic Committee meets from Tuesday, in one of the weightiest decisions ever faced by the Olympic movement.
The build-up to the high-stakes summit in Lausanne just 66 days before the start of the Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, has been dominated by an almost daily drip of negative news -- mostly related to doping -- for the winter sports heavyweights.
On November 26, athletics' ruling body the International Association of Athletics Federations maintained its two-year-long suspension of Russia imposed over claims of state-sponsored doping.
That ban prevented its athletes from competing at the 2016 Rio Olympics and the World Championships in London earlier this year.
The IAAF felt they were left with little choice after the World Anti-Doping Agency had announced on November 16 that Russia was still not compliant with international rules on drug testing.
WADA's refusal to lift the suspension of Moscow's national anti-doping body raised the stakes in Russia's possible exclusion from Pyeongchang.
Russia's chances of going to Pyeongchang have been further damaged by a raft of bans handed out to its medallists at the Sochi 2014 Games in the past week.
In total Russia was stripped of 11 of its 33 medals for cheating, meaning it has lost its position at the top of the Sochi medals table to Norway, slipping to fourth place.
The explosive, WADA-commissioned 2016 McLaren report alleged state-sponsored doping in Russia and led to the country being shut out of the agency.
The investigation said the cheating peaked at the 2014 Winter Olympics in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, where Russian secret agents are said to have engineered an elaborate system of state-backed doping.
Among those named and shamed for drug-taking last month was Russia's flag carrier at the Games, Alexander Zubkov, who was stripped of his four and two-man bobsleigh titles.