The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has banned Russia from the Olympic Games and world championships for four years.
Doping is the use of banned substances and methods to improve athletic performance.
Each member of the agency’s leadership committee voted to ban Russia. The measure passed Monday in Lausanne, Switzerland, home to the headquarters of the anti-doping agency.
WADA found that Russia had changed laboratory data by presenting false evidence and hiding files linked to medical tests of its athletes.
Sir Craig Reedie is the president of WADA. He said in a statement, “For too long, Russian doping has detracted from clean sport.” He said Russian anti-doping officials had broken the rules openly. Reedie said strong punishment was required.
The restrictions take away the accreditation of Russia’s anti-doping agency RUSADA.
RUSADA has 21 days to officially appeal the ruling with the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne.
The chief of RUSADA, Yury Ganus, told the French News Agency that there is, in his words, “no chance” that Russia can win an appeal.
Ganus called the ruling a “tragedy” and said, “Clean athletes are seeing their rights limited.”
WADA’s decision was based on a special's committee investigative report. It found that RUSADA's medical test records had been changed before being given to investigators. RUSADA was required to provide information to the anti-doping agency in order to gain readmission after an earlier suspension.
The move also means Russia is barred from hosting any major sports events. And WADA said, “In addition, Russia may not bid for the right to host the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”
Linda Helleland is a Norwegian lawmaker and member of WADA’s leadership committee. She called Russia’s actions “the biggest sports scandal the world has ever seen.”
Russia has been accused in doping scandals since a 2015 report for WADA found evidence of mass doping in Russian athletics.
Many of Russia’s athletes were barred from the past two Olympics. Russia was banned from taking part at last year’s Pyeongchang Winter Games as punishment for attempts to hide doping at the 2014 Sochi Games.
Under the restrictions, Russian athletes may compete at the Olympics, but not under the Russian flag. Instead, they may compete under the Olympic flag, as they did during the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea. But they cannot be linked to positive doping tests or efforts to falsify data.
The International Olympic Committee must honor the decisions of WADA because it has signed the World Anti-Doping Code.
The IOC has called for strong punishments against Russia. However, it has asked that restriction be brought against Russian officials rather than athletes or Olympic officials.
WADA first declared that the Russia anti-doping agency was not following international rules in November of 2015.
I’m Mario Ritter, Jr.
Mario Ritter Jr. adapted this RFE/RL story for VOA Learning English with additional information from Reuters. Caty Weaver was the editor.
Words in This Story
athletic - adj. of or relating to sports, games, or exercises
detract –v. to reduce the value or importance of something
robust –adj. strong, not weak or likely to fail
accreditation –n. to receive official approval to take part in something or carry out some service
manipulate –v. to change in a selfish or unfair way
reinstate –v. to put someone or something back to its former position
scandal –n. behavior that shocks or upsets people because it is wrong