The World Anti-Doping Agency's executive committee voted unanimously to ban Russia from international sporting events, including the Olympics, for the next four years. The decision comes after a lengthy investigation into Russia's state-run doping program. Russian officials reportedly gave banned substances to dozens of athletes and then swapped out their urine samples.
“For too long, Russian doping has detracted from clean sport,” WADA president Craig Reedie said at a news conference. “Russia was afforded every opportunity to get its house in order and rejoin the global anti-doping community for the good of its athletes and of the integrity of sport, but it chose instead to continue in its stance of deception and denial.”
The ban also applies to Russian officials, such as President Vladimir Putin. The WADA says that Russian athletes will still be able to participate in international events if they are cleared by anti-doping officials, but they will not be able to represent their home country.
Not everybody is happy with the decision because it does not punish Russia enough. U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart issued a statement calling the decision a "horrendous Groundhog Day of Russian corruption and domination."
"To allow Russia to escape a complete ban is yet another devastating blow to clean athletes, the integrity of sport, and the rule of law," he said.
Russia has 21 days to file an appeal with the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport.
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