Russian Track and Field Team Banned From Rio Olympics: IAAF

By Denisse Moreno, Epoch Times
June 17, 2016 Updated: June 17, 2016

No athletes from the Russian track and field team will be allowed to compete in the Rio Olympics this summer, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) announced on June 17.

The move comes after 14 Russian athletes tested positive in the re-analysis of their doping samples, including 10 medalists from the 2008 Beijing Olympics, it was revealed in May.

Russia was suspended in November after a report by a World Anti-Doping Agency commission that accused the country’s track and field of state-sponsored cheating, corruption and cover-ups.

The organization made the decision at the 204th IAAF Council Meeting in Vienna, in which it said Russia had not done enough to earn reinstatement. The Russian athletes will be ineligible to compete in International Competitions including the European Championships and the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

The IAAF banned the Russian athletes because the country was: failing to materially change its “deep-seated culture of tolerance” for doping; not creating a “strong and effective anti-doping infrastructure capable of detecting and deterring doping;” as well as the fact that Russian authorities “orchestrated systematic doping and the covering up of adverse analytical findings.”

“For Russian athletes to be reinstated into international competition, RusAF (Russian Athletics Federation) must show that there is now a culture of zero tolerance towards doping in Russian athletics and that RusAF, RUSADA, and the public authorities in Russia, working in cooperation, have created an anti-doping infrastructure that is effective in detecting and deterring cheats, and therefore provides reasonable assurance and protection to clean athletes both inside and outside of Russia,” said Rune Andersen from the IAAF.

However, the IAAF says an athlete who “convincingly shows” that he or she is not tainted by the Russian system by being out of the country may apply for permission to compete as a neutral athlete, meaning not under the Russian flag.

The Russian sports ministry said it was “extremely disappointed” by the IAAF’s decision, citing collateral damage to athletes that have not done anything wrong.

“Clean athletes’ dreams are being destroyed because of the reprehensible behavior of other athletes and officials,” the ministry said in a statement.

“They have sacrificed years of their lives striving to compete at the Olympics and now that sacrifice looks likely to be wasted,” it added.

The ministry appealed to the International Olympic Committee to “consider the impact that our athletes’ exclusion will have on their dreams and the people of Russia, but also that the Olympics themselves will be diminished by their absence.

“The games are supposed to be a source of unity, and we hope that they remain as a way of bringing people together,” added the ministry.

The ministry also said it “had done everything possible” to “regain the trust of the international community.”

But the IAAF says it’s not enough.

“Although good progress has been made, the IAAF Council was unanimous that RusAF had not met the reinstatement conditions and that Russian athletes could not credibly return to international competition without undermining the confidence of their competitors and the public,” said IAAF President Sebastian Coe.

RusAF’s membership to the IAFF has not been reinstated.

Russian Medals Won From Track and Field at 2012 London Olympics

Gold: Men’s 50km walk – also an Olympic record
Gold: Men’s high jump
Bronze: Men’s high jump
Gold: Women’s 800m
Bronze: Women’s 800m
Gold: Women’s 400m hurdles
Gold: Women’s 3000 steeplechase
Silver: Women’s 4x400m relay
Bronze: Women’s marathon
Gold: Women’s 20km walk
Silver: Women’s 20km walk
Gold: Women’s high jump
Bronze: Women’s high jump
Bronze: Women’s pole vault
Silver: Women’s long jump
Silver: Women’s shot put
Gold: Women’s hammer throw
Bronze: Women’s heptathlon
A silver medal was also stripped from Darya Pishchalnikova, Russian winner of the women’s discus after she failed drugs tests.