RUSSIA topped the medal table after the 2014 Winter Olympics on its home turf in Sochi. It will not do the same at the games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, which start on February 9th. In December the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the governing body of the Olympics, banned Russia from sending a team to South Korea. This was the first time the IOC has taken such a step on doping grounds, and it followed allegations of widespread, state-sponsored doping violations. Thanks to a compromise deal, some Russian athletes will still win medals, but only if they have proven they are “clean” and have been invited to be part of a neutral team (with beautiful neutral tracksuits, above) known as Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR). The Olympic anthem will be played during their medal ceremonies. The number of athletes in the OAR team, probably around 170, remains under debate. It is unlikely to be fully settled until the opening ceremony.
The existence of state-sponsored doping regimes in the Soviet bloc during the 1970s and 1980s is widely accepted....Continue reading