Russia Banned by Court from Using Name, Flag, Anthem at Next 2 Olympics

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistDecember 17, 2020

A fan waves a flag of Russia before the quarterfinal round of the men's hockey game between Norway and the team from Russia at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

Russia was banned Thursday from using its name, flag or national anthem during the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo or the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing.

Graham Dunbar of the Associated Press reported the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled the same restrictions apply for all world championships over the next two years, including the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The court also "blocked Russia from bidding to host major sporting events for two years."

The penalties are based on allegations Russian state authorities "tampered" with evidence about potential doping by the nation's athletes before sending it to the World Anti-Doping Agency last year, per Dunbar.

Travis Tygart, the CEO of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, issued a strong statement in opposition to the "devastating decision," saying it's a "weak, watered-down outcome" and a "catastrophic blow to clean athletes, the integrity of sport and the rule of law":

"While the first instinct is to express obvious shock, the fact is we should have all seen this coming. WADA and the IOC have manipulated and mishandled this sordid Russian state-doping affair from day one and have put politics over principle once again. In addition to many other loopholes, this decision expressly gives IOC members from Russia special treatment and exempts them from any consequence for their bad acts that robbed sport and clean athletes.

"For years, athletes have pleaded with WADA for reform and to hold Russia accountable for carrying out the most egregious doping fraud in the history of sport. Throughout the investigation and now with this weak outcome, it's clear that WADA—even with new leadership and promises of change—has told athletes that it did not hear them and that they don't matter. Russia has claimed victory today and, for them and their ability to corrupt global sport, deceive the world, and cheat the global anti-doping system, they are right."

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The Russian Anti-Doping Agency must also pay $1.27 million to the WADA as part of the ruling, per Dunbar.

Russia was originally given a four-year ban before it was cut in half by the CAS. The decision also allows Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin, to attend international sporting events if invited by the host nation.

All Russian athletes are eligible to compete in future events if they are not implicated in doping investigations.

In 2018, the country's delegation competed in the Winter Olympics under the designation of Olympic Athletes from Russia, with the Olympic flag as their logo. They tied the host country of South Korea for the seventh-most medals with 17.

The AP noted the CAS ruled moving forward that Russian athletes can use the nation's white, blue and red color scheme and include Russia on their uniform, but it must include the phrases like "Neutral Athlete" or "Neutral Team," as well.