It has taken several investigative reports across three years. But at long last the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided on December 5th to punish Russia for running a state-sponsored doping programme. Russian athletes hoping to compete in the winter games in February in Pyeongchang, South Korea, will have to do so under a neutral flag—after proving they are clean. The World Anti-Doping Agency provided extensive proof of cheating before the summer games in Rio in 2016, but the IOC still let Russia take a team to Brazil. It has toughened up recently: since the start of November, Russia has been stripped of 11 medals it won when hosting the winter games in Sochi in 2014, a pet project of Vladimir Putin’s. Russian officials have reacted with indignant (some might say Olympian) anger, calling the ban part of a Western campaign to keep Russia down.
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