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IOC Considering Completely Banning Russia from Summer Olympics

IOC Considering Completely Banning Russia from Summer Olympics
Photo: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is exploring legal options to totally ban the Russian team from competing at the Olympic Games next month in Rio de Janeiro. The decision was made during Tuesday morning's conference call in Switzerland a day after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) released the McLaren report, which independently documented Russia's extensive doping practices.

The report is damning, and details a top-to-bottom, state-sanctioned program that protected athletes from drug testing on the orders of the Russian Ministry of Sport.

This program was in place during the Sochi Winter Games in 2014, where the Russian Ministry of Sport worked with the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) to replace tainted drug samples with clean ones.

Upon the release of the McLaren report, WADA recommended the IOC to take unprecedented action with a complete and total ban against not only Russian athletes, but also Russia's top sports officials.

In response, the IOC created a disciplinary commission to investigate those mentioned within the report. Russian President Vladimir Putin also took action by suspending Deputy Minister of Sport Yuri Nagornykh, as well as his subordinates.

The IOC is also investigating the report's allegations that Russia put an elaborate system in place to protect the athletes. The IOC said it will "initiate reanalysis, including forensic analysis, and a full inquiry into all Russian athletes who participated" in Sochi, and impose sanctions against any guilty parties.

The IOC is waiting on the verdict from this upcoming Thursday's Court of Arbitration for Sport before making a final decision on Russia's participation in the Games. The court is set to rule on the country's appeal against the International Association of Athletics Federation's ban on Russian track and field athletes from the Summer Games.

The Association of Summer Olympic International Federations stated it opposes a complete ban, and further said, "It is important to focus on the need for individual justice in all these cases." But they have also stated they would accept a ban on a national team in an individual sport if the punishment was handed down by that sport's governing body.
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