U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, others call for Russia Olympic ban
National anti-doping agencies, including USADA, want Russia’s Olympic Committee banned from the PyeongChang Winter Games, while setting criteria for individual Russians to be cleared as neutral athletes.
"[Anti-doping] leaders called on the IOC to ban the Russian Olympic Committee from participation in the 2018 Winter Games for proven corruption of the Sochi Olympic Games and continuing failure in its obligations to clean sport,” a joint press release Thursday said. “The IOC needs to stop kicking the can down the road and immediately issue meaningful consequences.”
IOC president Thomas Bach has said he hopes a decision on Russian sanctions will be made before the winter sports season is in full swing later this fall.
It would come after an IOC-commissioned investigation into Russian doping delivers its findings.
"[Anti-doping] leaders reaffirmed their commitment to provide consistent criteria for individual Russian athletes to compete, as neutrals and independent of the Russian Olympic Committee, for those who have been subject to robust anti-doping protocols, consistent with precedent established by the IAAF,” Thursday’s press release said.
The IAAF, track and field’s international governing body, was the lone sport federation to ban Russia from the Rio Olympics.
Anti-doping leaders, including from USADA, criticized the IOC for not issuing a blanket Russia ban for Rio given the nation’s well-publicized doping issues.
The IAAF allowed one Russian athlete to compete in Rio -- long jumper Darya Klishina -- because she had been based in the U.S. for three years and subject to reputable drug testing.
Russia’s federation remains banned from international track and field competition, but more Russian athletes were cleared to compete as neutrals this year, including for the world championships last month.
Before calling for Russia’s ban from PyeongChang, officials from 17 national anti-doping organizations met for two days. It was the fourth special meeting since the Rio Games.
The group included anti-doping leaders from the nations that finished Nos. 2-9 behind Russia in the Sochi Olympic medal standings.
They addressed “the International Olympic Committee’s continuing refusal to hold Russia accountable for one of the biggest doping scandals in sports history, saying IOC inaction imperils clean athletes and the future of the Olympic movement.”
In January, a similar group of national anti-doping leaders (including from USADA) similarly called for Russia to be banned from all international sports competitions while allowing for cleared athletes to compete as neutrals.
Now, with the winter sports season already under way, the leaders are looking at PyeongChang specifically.
“A country’s sport leaders and organizations should not be given credentials to the Olympics when they intentionally violate the rules and rob clean athletes,” the press release said. “This is especially unfair when athletes are punished when they violate the rules.”
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