If you are an Olympic or all around sports enthusiast, you may have heard the news that the Council of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the World athletics governing body, rendered a decision on Friday, June 17, 2016. IAAF President Sebastian Coe announced the decision reaffirming the ban of Russian Track & Field athletes to participate in the RIO 2016 Olympic Games.
The decision was based on information from a Russian task force stated during a hearing to lift or continue the original ban from November of last year and extended into March of this year; new information was provided that significant doping problems continued to exist in Russia.
The initial ban came after a report by an independent commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) revealed widespread state-sponsored doping in Russia athletics. The established task force led by Norwegian Rune Andersen was set up to monitor progress in reforming Russia’s anti-doping program, and in March reported that there was “significant work to do.” Additionally, WADA released another report containing more damaging information regarding the doping scandal in Russia. The report revealed 52 new failed tests and stories of extraordinary attempts and efforts to avoid and obstruct testing or intimidate drug testers.
All is not lost. The IOC Olympic Summit will be held on 21 June 2016, and at that meeting the IOC Olympic chiefs can meet and decide to uphold the ban or overrule the ban allowing Russian athletes an opportunity to go to RIO and complete. According to IOC President Thomas Bach, “This meeting on the 21st will be to protect the clean athletes and ensure a level playing field for all the athletes participating in Rio.”
The following contributed to the writing of this piece:
By Fred Cromartie, Ed.D.
Dr. Fred J. Cromartie, is the Director of Doctoral Studies at the United States Sports Academy, and can be reached at email@example.com.