The full extent to which Russia attempted to meddle in the 2016 presidential election remains murky, but we now know of something else Russia tried to hack: the 2014 Olympic Games.
BBC Sports reports that the International Olympic Committee has banned Russia from participating in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea following an investigation that Russian athletes engaged in blood doping — the act of enhancing an athlete’s performance by boosting his levels of red blood cells, which carry oxygen — at the 2014 games in Sochi, and that the athletes did so with the knowledge and support of their government.
IOC president Thomas Bach and his board – who made the announcement in Lausanne on Tuesday – came to the decision after reading through the findings and recommendations of a 17-month investigation headed up by the former president of Switzerland, Samuel Schmid.
The Russian Olympic Committee has been suspended but the IOC said it will invite Russian clean athletes to compete in February under the name ‘Olympic Athlete from Russia’ (OAR).
Despite repeated Russian denials, the Schmid report has found evidence of “the systemic manipulation of the anti-doping rules and system” which back up previous allegations of government involvement in cheating in the run-up to and during the Winter Olympics almost four years ago.
Bach said: “This was an unprecedented attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games and sport. This should draw a line under this damaging episode and serve as a catalyst for a more effective anti-doping system.”
The Games in South Korea, which start on 9 February, will now be without one of the powerhouses of Olympic sport.
This whole controversy was instigated when Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov blew the whistle on Russia’s activities back in 2014, revealing that he was the chief implementer of the scheme. At the behest of the World Anti Doping Agency, Canada’s Dr. Richard McLaren compiled a report that concluded that from 2012 to 2015, 1,000 Russian athletes across 30 different sports had been playing with illicitly-gained advantages.
Further, the International Olympics Committee investigated and affirmed their findings, and itself reported that just since November 1 of this year, 25 Russian athletes had received lifetime suspensions from the Olympics — a whopping 10.8 percent of the country’s team.
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