(Updated) Russian Track Team, Maria Sharapova Banned from 2016 Olympics
UPDATE: The Olympic committee has moved to officially ban the Russian Track and Field team from competition in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games on the grounds of widespread doping and corruption. President Putin has called the ruling “unjust”.
With the 2016 Summer Olympic Games drawing steadily closer, the entire world is abuzz with excitement- well, except maybe Russia.
With the new, stricter guidelines set forth by the World Anti-Doping Agency, many of the country’s top athletes have come under fire for use of banned performance-enhancing substances. Facing additional accusations that government funding was used to provided these drugs to Russian athletes, the scandal has the world of sports in a frenzy- especially because a ban on key athletes implemented over the last year could mean Russia is unrepresented in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
If you have no idea what I’m talking about, here’s a quick rundown of what’s going on in the world of Russian sports:
– At the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, dozens of Russian athletes allegedly took part in a massive doping scheme involving anabolic steroid concoctions, urine sample swapping, and insider cover-ups.
– At least 15 Russian medal winners were among those who participated in the use of this drug, developed by Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov- the former director of Russia’s anti-doping laboratory.
– To hide use of steroids, employees of the lab would swap out dirty urine samples with clean ones collected months prior to use of the super-steroid blend.
– A former employee involved with the case has stated that his orders were given directly from officials along with bribes.
– Russian President Vladimir Putin has called for an internal investigation of these allegations, and the U.S. Supreme Court has offered its services on an international level.
While Russian athletes involved in this case continue to deny any culpability, in an attempt to lift their ban in time for the 2016 Olympic games, Russia is attempting to placate the World Anti-Doping Agency by providing any assistance it can during investigations.
Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko made this announcement after new testing by WADA concluded that Russian athletes are still failing drug tests. The move to essentially open all doors seems wise after such a long time fighting and denying allegations, but if government officials were truly in on this scandal, it may be another move to cover up to true extent of this conspiracy.
At this point, Russia is trying desperately to just make this all go away- but that may be too late.
Russian tennis sweetheart Maria Sharapova is also hoping to convince the World Anti-Doping Agency to have a change of heart. A ruling following Sharapova’s admittance to using a newly banned performance enhancing drug, Meldonium, banned the world-class athlete from tennis competitions for two years.
While she has already missed this year’s French Open, she hopes that her appeal to overturn the ban will allow her to compete in the 2016 Rio Olympics, which begin in August. The Court of Arbitration for Sport has said it will have a ruling by July 18th. Until then, Maria Sharapova is benched.
Should Maria Sharapova or the other Russian athletes be allowed to compete in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games? Comment below with what you think!
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About the Author
Alexandrea Holder is a South Florida native working toward double Master’s degrees in Psychology and English. She finds the psychological aspects of addiction and mental illness fascinating, as both are prevalent in her family’s history. When not researching and spreading addiction awareness, Alexandrea enjoys sparring, artistic pursuits, and admiring puppies online.