Russia will not be well represented in the Rio Olympics next week, as 108 members of its Olympic team were banned from competing in the wake of a doping scandal.
Russia had a total of 387 Olympians competing in Rio, but a commission set up by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) uncovered a massive Russian doping scandal in 2015, resulting in team members getting banned. Currently, the number of banned Russian Olympians stands at 108, according to a Tuesday Independent article. But that number could go higher.
“There is a culture of cheating in Russian sport which has to change,” WADA President Craig Reedie told the Financial Times Tuesday.
The two sports that took the biggest hits are rowing and track and field. Of Russia’s 28 rowers, 22 have been banned as well as 67 track and fielders.
Some athletes were banned for positive tests, others were banned due to past transgressions.
The International Olympic Committee said that any Russian who has ever tested positive for doping will face banishment from the Rio Olympic games.
World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren, who wrote the WADA report, says he found evidence the cheating was state-sponsored.
“The Moscow Laboratory operated, for the protection of doped Russian athletes, within a State-dictated failsafe system, described in the report as the Disappearing Positive Methodology,” McLaren said in the summary of his report.
Russian President Vladimir Putin says the ban amounts to discrimination and that it goes “beyond the legal sphere, it goes beyond common sense.”
The scandal has even gone beyond the Russian Olympic team. The Russian Paralympic team could potentially be facing its own ban, according to The New York Times. Paralympic officials recently moved to ban the paralyzed athletes from the games, which take place two weeks after the Olympics end. Officials note that 35 Paralympic athletes have doping violations as well.
Doping violations are nothing new to Russia. The country is atop an unfortunate list of doping violations with 110 total instances, according to Fox News. Second place, India, has 91 doping violations for comparison — the U.S. did not make the list.
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