NY Post- Russia’s Olympic team on Tuesday was banned from the upcoming Pyeongchang Winter Games and slapped with a $15 million fine over its elaborate doping regime, the International Olympic Committee announced.
Individual Russian sportspeople will still be allowed to compete as an “Olympic Athlete from Russia” in the cold-weather tournament, but they have to do so without their national flag or anthem.
The country may just boycott the games altogether, however. Russian President Vladimir Putin has previously said it would be humiliating to compete without national symbols.
There are two big losers in this situation. First, obviously, the one or two Russian athletes who aren’t juicing. They are in a serious catch 22: either they don’t compete, and waste away their years of training and a chance at Gold, or they compete under the Olympic banner, with no national symbols and probably get sent to Siberia for embarrassing the country. Vladimir Putin has already stated that it would be humiliating to compete without national symbols, there is no way he allows his athletes to compete.
The second big loser is South Korea. The 2018 host has now lost last Olympic’s largest competitor (232 Russian athletes in 2014), not to mention the number one adversary of the United States (230 athletes in 2014). The competition will be severely diminished and viewership will most likely dwindle. The hype for this Olympics has already deteriorated since the IOC and NHL could not come to an agreement, and barred NHL athletes from competing. Poor South Koreans; this is gonna cost them a ton of shekels.
The 1984 Summer games in Los Angeles were the last Olympics to not have Russia compete. The result was the Americans dominating the medal count, with 174 total medals and 83 Gold. The closest country to them was Romania with 20 gold (probably all in women’s weightlifting) and West Germany, with 59 total medals.
This Russian ban may be the principled thing to do, but it will dramatically affect the competitiveness and ratings of these games. And who wouldn’t want to see the Americans – or any other nation for that matter – destroy the doping Russians anyway? I mean, last winter Olympics in Russia, the US and Canada finished ahead of the doping 4th place Soviets in both Gold and total Medals.
Let the juicers compete! They’ll lose anyway.