The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has banned Russia from competing in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in retaliation for a state-backed doping program the committee says Russia has run in recent years.
The IOC announced that Russia’s flag will not be flown at next year’s games and the country’s anthem will not be played during the opening ceremony. The decision also bars the country’s government officials from attending the events and states that any Russian athletes who get special permission to compete will wear a neutral uniform. Any medals won will not be counted toward Russia’s medal count.
A statement from the IOC says that Russia’s two top sporting officials, Minister of Sport Vitaly Mutko and his deputy, Yuri Nagornykh, are banned from participating in any future Olympic events.
Russian athletes who have a history of passing doping tests are still invited to attend under a neutral flag, according to the announcement, but any record of failure will be immediately disqualifying.
In the announcement, IOC President Thomas Bach called the Russian doping program an “unprecedented attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games and sport” and called for stronger regulation from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
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