After over a century of international games celebrating friendly global competition, the International Olympic Committee has announced that they will be fully banning the Russian Federation from participating in the 2018 Winter Olympics, the first time a nation has ever been forbidden from sending competitors.
Officially, this is being done to punish Russia for doping among athletes. In reality, the move was heavily lobbied for by the US and a series of allies, a push that was primarily about US-Russia tensions in recent years.
The doping scandal, after all, was nothing particularly new, and accusations of doping among athletes from Eastern Europe have gone back for generations without any such bans being seriously contemplated.
The IOC says it will allow certain athletes from Russia to participate under a “neutral” flag, but only in individual events. No Russian teams will be allowed to be fielded in any team sports.
The US, of course, praised the move, saying that excluding the Russians was a “strong and principled decision” for the IOC, and one that ensures doping will never happen again.