With less than two weeks to go, the state of Russian participation in this year’s Olympic Games is still in the grey.
The big news on the Russian doping scandal now is that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has opted not to impose a blanket ban on Russian athletes. Heading into the weekend, the world was waiting on the IOC to decide whether to kick Russia out of the Olympics in every single event. This became a very real option after reports came out proving allegations of state-supported doping in Russian sport to be true.
A big part of this doping scandal has focused on track and field.
The verdict: no blanket ban will be imposed this time. Instead the IOC is handing the decision to ban athletes over to those in charge of each individual sports federation. That’s a move which has been widely critiqued since this news came out over the weekend.
According the The Guardian, Dick Pound– the Canadian who has become a prominent anti-doping voice in the Russian doping scandal– is appalled. As stated in their report, he says that the IOC has squandered their opportunity to crack down on cheaters and demonstrate a zero tolerance policy.
Russia has a team of 300 athletes. This means that since it is now the responsibility of each sports federation to clear them, they have about a week and a half to complete this process. Tennis has already given the green light. The International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) however has not.
With track and field being the sport most riddled with instances of Russian doping, the IAAF placed this ban on the runners last year. They upheld that ban again in June.
Russia did however appeal that decision to the Court of Arbitration of Sport. It was shot down last week confirming that no Russians would be setting foot on the track. It’s the first Olympics in which they will have to sit out since the 1984 boycott when Russia pulled out.