This year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo looks very different for a number of reasons, mainly COVID-19 related. However, one country in particular will experience a very different Olympics to the rest of the world.
Russia was handed a four-year ban from all major sporting events back in 2019 due to a series of doping related scandals, including cover-ups in Sochi 2014.
Following strict adherence to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) guidelines, Russian athletes will be allowed to feature in the Games, including representing the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), rather than the nation of Russia.
What does this mean for Russia?
With the guidelines in place, neither the Russian flag nor their national anthem will feature at the games.
Athletes will have to prove that they had nothing to do with the doping scandals of the past to be able to compete in Tokyo, and if any of their athletes win gold, Russian composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 will be played in celebration.
Russia’s ban explained
Russia was originally banned from competing in athletics in 2015, after doping cover-ups were made in Sochi 2014.
Then in 2019, the nation was handed a ban of four years by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), after Russia’s Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) was declared non-compliant for manipulating data.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) then reduced the ban from four to two years following an appeal in 2020.
Russian athletes among the most tested
To avoid any incidences this year, Russian athletes have been among the most tested in the run-up to the Games.
“Obviously, I will not hide that Russian athletes come high in the risk assessment based on the previous years”, said International Testing Agency Director Benjamin Cohen.
“Testing plans are based on risk assessment. We take into account a number of factors.”