Sunday morning, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) issued their final decision regarding Russia’s participation in the Olympic games. At the time of the announcement, Sara Germano of the Wall Street Journal summarized the ruling:
Russian athletes must meet list of criteria to be admitted for Rio; NO athlete who has EVER served a drug ban will be permitted.
— Sara Germano (@germanotes) July 24, 2016
The ruling isn’t that surprising based on statements made by the IOC following their summit in June. At that meeting, they clarified that participation in the Olympics is decided by the respective National Olympic Committees of each country and issued a guideline to those committees, especially those in Russia and Kenya, that absence of a positive drug test was not sufficient evidence to clear an athlete.
By punting the decision to the international federations of each sport, the IOC has basically banned Russia from competition in track and field. The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has already banned Russians from their competitions and had previously recommended to the IOC that they adopt the same ban. It is highly unlikely that they will reverse course on those statements now that they have full decision-making autonomy.
Additionally, the IOC specified that no Russian athlete who has ever been banned for PEDs would be allowed to compete in the Olympics. This means that Yuliya Stepanova, who had been previously granted permission to compete under a neutral flag, will not be admitted to the games. Stepanova is the Russian 800m runner who appeared in a documentary on German TV accusing the Russian sports system of widespread and systematic doping fraud. The IAAF had previously decided she would be allowed to compete, but, given that she was banned for doping in 2013, they have been overruled by the IOC’s decision on Sunday.
The entire decision of the IOC Executive Board can be read here.