How bad is Russian use of banned performance-enhancing drugs? Even the country’s paralympic team–those participating in the feel-good competition for disabled athletes–was caught doping. Nevertheless, the International Olympics Committee has ruled that the Russian Olympics team will be allowed to compete in Rio next month, though its athletes will face extra scrutiny and some teams (such as track and field) may be banned by the sport’s governing body.
The International Olympic Committee cleared the way for scores of Russian athletes to be banned from the Rio Games, but stopped short of forcing the country’s entire delegation to stay home due to alleged state-sponsored doping.
The move, which anti-doping advocates immediately criticized as not tough enough, left open the possibility that many Russian athletes will ultimately be allowed to compete in the Rio Games if they can prove they haven’t been taking performance-enhancing drugs. But the IOC also said Russian athletes no longer have a presumption of innocence because of the evidence showing widespread doping sanctioned by the country’s sporting officials and security agencies. . . .
Russian athletes will have to satisfy stringent criteria to be approved for competition in Rio. Any Russian athlete who has ever served a suspension for a doping infraction will be banned even if that suspension has been completed, the IOC said. Each international sport federation will have to individually review each athlete’s application to compete in Rio and the findings must be upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the highest appeals court in athletic circles.