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The Russians have been caught cheating according to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and as a result the Russian Olympic team will not compete at the upcoming Winter Games! Russia has been banned from participating in the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, for what the IOC has found to be a widespread, organized doping program. 

In a statement on Dec. 5, IOC President Thomas Bach called the Russian scheme “an unprecedented attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games and sport.”

Doping is when athletes use performance enhancing drugs or other medical procedures to give themselves an advantage over their competitors. As punishment for what was reportedly a state-sponsored doping program, the Russian Olympic committee was fined $15 million, some Russian sports officials were suspended or banned, and medals were stripped from Russian competitors who won at the 2014 Games.

Based on reports and testimony given to the IOC, 25 Russian athletes were implicated for doping for the 2014 Games in Sochi. The athletes were disqualified from the Sochi Games and 11 medals were stripped. 

In a bold scheme, Russian sports ministry officials ordered workers to tamper with drug-testing samples at the laboratory in Sochi to hide evidence of steroid use. Russian Olympic committee and IOC committee member Alexander Zhukov was suspended. Vitaly Mutko, the Russian sports minister in 2014, and his deputy, Yuri Nagornykh, were banned from the Olympics for life.

Russian athletes who have a history of passing their doping tests and those accepted by a special panel may still compete in PyeongChang, but will do so under a neutral flag. The Russian flag will not appear in the opening ceremonies and the anthem will not be played during these Olympics. If an “Olympic Athlete from Russia,” as they will be designated, ends up on the medal podium, the Olympic Anthem will play for them.

The Winter Games will take place Feb. 9–25. The ban is set to lift after the 2018 Games, allowing Russia to compete as a team at the Summer Games in Tokyo in 2020.

January 2018