The World Anti-Doping Agency announced Monday it is imposing a 4-year ban on Russia using its flag, anthem, and team names during sports events. That means for the second and third straight Olympics, Russia will not officially be represented even though its athletes can compete.
Russia is likely to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, according to the New York Times.
WADA investigators and the International Olympic Committee said last month that there is evidence to show that Russian authorities tampered with a Moscow laboratory database to hide hundreds of potential doping cases and falsely shift the blame onto whistleblowers.
WADA said the Russians were tampering with the data as late as January 2019 — days before they handed over the data that had originally been due on Dec. 31, 2018.
Among the alterations, WADA says, was the planting of evidence in an attempt to implicate the lab’s former director, Grigory Rodchenkov. The planted evidence claimed Rodchenkov, who blew the whistle on the Russian doping plot, did so as part of a scheme to extort money from athletes.
During the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, Russian athletes competed under the Olympic flag and heard the Olympic theme if they won a gold medal. They were announced as the "Olympic Athletes from Russia." A similar scenario now appears likely for not only the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo but the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing.
Russia's appearance in soccer's World Cup would also be affected.
Russian athletes could compete at the Olympics next summer if they are not implicated in doping, or their doping tests are not implicated in manipulation of a Moscow laboratory's database by state authorities.