The Willistonian, Est. 1881

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Russia Banned From Olympics

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Credit: Wikipedia.com.

Credit: Wikipedia.com.

Credit: Wikipedia.com.

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On Tuesday, December 5, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) officially banned Russia from participating in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.

Russian athletes will be allowed to compete as individuals, but not as teams under the Russian flag. The Olympics will be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

The Russian doping scandal first received attention during the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. Throughout the past few years, investigations and newly discovered evidence has led the IOC to believe that Russian athletes have been doping. The IOC’s decision angered Russia, who wants another chance to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Doping, taking performance enhancing drugs, has not been seen since East Germany did it in the 1960s-80s, according to The New York Times.

The New York Times also stated that these investigations have led the OIC to give Russia severe punishments.

“The International Olympic Committee, after completing their own prolonged investigations that reiterated what had been known for over a year, handed Russia penalties for doping so severe they were without precedent in Olympics history,” The New York Times wrote in a December 5 article.

Russian athletes will be able to individually compete in the 2018 Olympic games, while wearing neutral uniforms; this has caused some outrage from citizens as well as President Vladimir Putin, who believes athletes should still be able to compete.

Logan Geisness ’18 is disappointed that Russia cannot compete, especially the hockey team, but thinks the punishment is deserved.

“They get what they deserve, they tried to cheat their way to victory, so they definitely had it coming,” said Logan. “From the hockey standpoint, I don’t think that any hockey players were doping, but it is good to hear that they can’t compete this year because it gives USA a better chance at winning.” Logan is a forward on the Williston hockey team.

RT, a major Russian newspaper, claims that the International Olympic Committee has slowly been trying to take Russia out of world sports.

“The International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) decision to ban the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) from the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang is yet another attempt to “isolate” the country,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

“The IOC decision is partly a result of ‘political pressure’ on the international sporting authority,” according to the Ministry spokeswoman. She added that “the athletes have fallen victims to baseless accusations.”

Yana Pyryalina ’18 is from Moscow, Russia. She said that she and many Russian citizens are confused on the IOC’s decision.

“It is hard for me to figure out the truth,” claimed Yana. “Other countries say that the reason for the decision was the full-on government-supported ‘doping system’ that we are accused of having, while in Russia, athletes, coaches and the media say that the decision was ‘based on pure politics.'”

In terms of individual athletes competing, Yana believes that they should definitely be allowed to compete this year.

“In fact, all that we are banned from doing is using the flag of our country,” Yana said. “The ‘cleanest’ athletes should still be able to perform under the Olympic flag, which is how it’s done in cases like that.”

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