The athletes that shouldn’t have

A huge step for clean competition

The+symbol+of+the+Olympic+Athletes+from+Russia.
The symbol of the Olympic Athletes from Russia.

The symbol of the Olympic Athletes from Russia.

Photo provided by thestar.com

Photo provided by thestar.com

The symbol of the Olympic Athletes from Russia.

Luke Weaver, Staff Writer

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Russia was banned from competing at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang for helping more than a few of their athletes cheat and use blood doping to gain a competitive advantage at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, but Russian athletes who could prove they are clean could compete in South Korea under a neutral flag. The International Olympic Committee allowed this to happen so that they did not punish the athletes who followed the rules and rejected the opportunity to cheat. This decision was not popular in Russia, where multiple politicians pushed to boycott the games, though other politicians opposed this idea, welcoming the IOC’s decision to encourage clean competition. IOC president Thomas Bach and his board came to the landmark decision after reading through the findings from a 17-month investigation. The report found evidence of “the systemic manipulation of the anti-doping rules and system” was used to help 25 athletes representing Russia in the 2014 Sochi games to cheat by blood doping. The investigation was started by whistleblower doctor Grigory Rodchenov, director of Russia’s anti-doping laboratory during the Sochi games. He claimed that he was told to create substances to enhance the athletes’ performance and switched urine samples to avoid detection. A report published by the World Anti-Doping Agency concluded that 1,000 athletes spanning across 30 sports benefitted from the doping program from 2012 to 2015.

Most notably, the Olympic Athletes from Russia won the gold medal in men’s hockey over Germany. The OAR men’s hockey team lived up to their listing as favorites to win the gold medal. This was the first time the Russians have taken home the gold since 1992. Minnesota Wild prospect Kirill Kaprizov scored the game winning goal on a power play in overtime after a high-sticking penalty have the Russians possession of the puck. Russia rallied from a 3-2 deficit late in regulation to win the game. Nikita Gusev scored the final two goals in regulation for Russia to save the day, including the game – tying goal in the final minute while Germany was on the power play. Kaprizov’s goal was the finale of an incredible game that was more than any hockey fan could ever ask for. The team’s first goal was scored by Vyacheslav Voynov, who left the NHL in 2014 after a domestic abuse charge left him disgraced. Voynov scored in the final minute of the first period. It was a very tight game from this point, with teams trading goals for the rest of the game, leading up to Germany’s power play that left the goal open for a score to tie the game, causing the overtime.

The OAR finished the Olympics with 2 gold medals, 6 silver medals, and 9 bronze medals. While many seemed to not support the notion of having Russian athletes competing in the Olympics after the scandal, I personally believe that it is okay because this move encouraged clean competition and PED-free sports.

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