Every two years, there is an event that brings the world together, all competing against one another for their nation, garnering worldwide attention. This event is the Olympics. Whether that be the Summer Olympics or the Winter Olympics, it is an extremely important event around the world.
The Winter Olympics that are coming in February are set to be hosted by South Korea in Pyeongchang. This follows the Winter Olympics hosted back in 2014 in Sochi, Russia. However, with these coming Olympics is also much conflict and tension.
Russia has officially been banned from competing together as a nation in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has suspended the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), but it has invited Russian athletes that were not involved in the drug scandal to participate in the Olympics under the name ‘Olympic Athlete from Russia’ or OAR. This has raised the debate at whether or not this action was necessary or was too extreme in “eliminating” a global power in winter sports.
According to the McLaren Doping Report, Russia engaged in a widespread doping system coverup during the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014. The report claimed the Russian officials tampered with the contaminated urine samples of Russian athletes, switching them with clean urine samples. This was carried out by the state security service- the FSB, entwining the ordeal directly with the Russian government.
Though there is evidence stacked up against the Russian government, people wonder if this ban hurts the athletes and fans more than the government, and whether or not this is the right way to go about it. However, Russia cannot go without punishment or a bad precedent is set where doping is permitted, encouraging further cheating and misbehavior. Considering the attention that the Winter Olympics get, the actions of the IOC have an immense impact on the global scene.
Despite the opinions of the critics of the IOC’s ban, it seems to be the necessary and the only proper course of action when dealing with a case of this magnitude. It is only fair to ban Russia when considering how many Olympic dreams and wins have been stolen away from those who competed without the help of drugs, something extremely serious for both those nations and the athletes themselves. As the U.S. Olympic Committee chief executive Scott Blackmun stated, “There were no perfect options, but this decision will clearly make it less likely that this ever happens again,” showing how the IOC’s ban is a step in the right direction for better and stricter anti-doping systems throughout the world.
Additionally, the IOC has already made several concessions to Russia, still allowing their clean athletes to compete and not shutting them out of the Olympics wholly. Due to this, the ban is one of the best options that the IOC could have taken to deal with the situation and seems to be the necessary and ethical way to go about it. All there is left to see now is how Russia will respond to this ban and what other impacts it may have for the world as a whole.
Article by MoCo Student staff writer Laura Yao of Richard Montgomery High School