Discussing a possible banning of the Russian national anthem at the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics is premature, the International Olympic Committee says. An early week report from The New York Times cited a source close to the IOC which indicated the organization was considering a ban of the country’s anthem. The IOC has since clarified its stance, saying it is not pursuing such an extreme penalty at this time.
IOC And Russia At Odds
After lifetime bans were handed out to two Russian skiers caught doping prior to the Sochi games, friction between the country and IOC was anticipated. Tensions escalated after the IOC failed to identify the substance that the athletes tested positive for. The committee then quickly nullified the results of both the 2014 Olympic skiers. One of the skiers took home a gold and silver medal in Sochi.
While a positive drug test breaks one of the IOC’s most sacred regulations, the committee stated that it will do its due diligence before deciding on any further ban against the country. This is not the first time that Russia has come under scrutiny on sports’ biggest stage though. A World Anti-Doping Agency report alleged that doping was prevalent among Russian athletes from 2011 to 2015. The most recent statement coming from the country stated it was continuing to work with the IOC to resolve any remaining issues before the start of the PyeongChang games.
Skier Banned For Doping
Russian cross-country skier, Alexander Legkov was slapped with a lifetime ban after testing positive for a banned substance prior to the 2014 games. Legkov and fellow-skier, Evgeniy Belov were the first two athletes marked as suspicious by the IOC. The organization failed to specify what substance the pair tested positive for, but informed the athletes that they will not be allowed to participate in any Olympic games moving forward. Legkov has since vowed to fight the ruling in an effort to clear his name.