As the flags process in during the Opening Ceremony and the national anthem plays after a victorious event, one notable country will be missing from the pageantry: Russia.
It was announced earlier today that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had moved to ban Russia from the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, following an extensive investigation into the Russian Olympic Committee’s (ROC) performance enhancing drug scandal. The IOC described the actions as “systemic manipulation” of the anti-doping rules and policies of the Olympics.
Not all Russian athletes will be fully punished, however. The IOC will allow any Russian athletes who can prove they are clean to compete in the Olympics under the neutral Olympic flag, in an attempt to avoid punishment of the innocent. However, the potential participation of those who are clean is unclear, as several Russian officials previously stated they would promote a complete boycott of the event for all Russian athletes if Russia was banned.
This decision will have a great impact on countless events. Russia finished on top of the medal count in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics with 33 total medals. The US finished in 4th with 25.
The 2018 PyeongChang Olympics begin on February 9, and MSB will continue to cover pertinent stories regarding the Olympic games.