Russia’s Track And Field Team Barred From Rio Olympics Amid Doping Controversy

Bad news for fans of Russia’s track and field who were hoping to watch the team in the Rio Olympics this August, whether in person or on TV: amid a far-reaching doping conspiracy, the global governing body of the games has banned the country’s team from the summer games.

The I.A.A.F. announced its decision, one that could be without precedent in the history of the Olympics, the New York Times notes, on Friday, ruling that Russia hadn’t worked hard enough to restore global confidence in the integrity of its athletes.

The ruling will go next to the International Olympic Committee, the ultimate authority over the Games, which is due to discuss the issue on Tuesday. It’s likely that Olympic officials will defer to the I.A.A.F., the NYT notes.

Russia’s track and field athletes have been on a seven-month suspension from international competition after a report by the World Anti-Doping Agency accused the country of running a doping program through the government. Russia has denied those allegations, but sports authorities there didn’t argue with the suspension when they had the chance.

Officials have been trying since then to persuade the global sports bosses that things have changed and that Russia can be trusted in the Olympics, saying it’ll go above and beyond what’s usual required for eligibility, and will only send athletes who haven’t been disciplined for drug use.

But in the days before Friday’s vote, the World Anti-Doping Agency questioned Russia’s reforms, saying that the testing authorities from the United Kingdom had been threatened while collecting urine samples by members of Russia’s Federal Security Service. It also said many athletes, many of them track and fielders, had outrun authorities trying to test them.

Russia’s Track and Field Team Barred From Rio Olympics [New York Times]

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