The World Anti-Doping Agency slapped Russia with a four-year ban from participating in international sports, including the Olympics, today.
The decision came after Moscow was accused of manipulating athletes’ doping records and falsifying drug laboratory data that was turned over to WADA in January.
Russia’s hosting of world championships in Olympic sports also face being stripped after the World Anti-Doping Agency executive committee approved a full slate of recommended sanctions for tampering with a Moscow laboratory database.
While Russia as a nation will be banned from the coming two Olympics, some individual Russian athletes may be permitted to compete, if they can prove in advance that they are clean — as happened at the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics.
WADA’s executive committee voted unanimously to ban Russia during a meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland.
During the meeting, Linda Helleland, the organization’s outgoing vice president, accused Russia of “extreme” cheating and “complete denial of the fraud” it perpetrated.
More recent evidence shows that Russian authorities tampered with a Moscow laboratory database to hide hundreds of potential doping cases and falsely shift the blame onto whistleblowers, WADA investigators and the International Olympic Committee said last month.
“Flagrant manipulation” of the Moscow lab data was “an insult to the sporting movement worldwide,” the IOC said last month.
“Russia was afforded every opportunity to get its house in order … but it chose instead to continue in its stance of deception and denial,” WADA president Craig Reedie said.
The Russian sports ministry has repeatedly denied wrongdoing in a litany of doping scandals that have blighted high-level international sports this decade.
It is expected to appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Russia’s prime minister, Dmitri Medvedev, said the penalties were a “continuation of anti-Russian hysteria.”
This will be the third consecutive Olympics with Russians competing under a cloud of doping accusations.
The next summer Olympics will be held in Tokyo in July/August 2020, and the next winter Games will take place in Beijing in February 2022.