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Russia Banned From World Cup & Olympics for 4 Years

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    The World Anti-Doping Agency’s unanimously imposed a total ban on Russian participation in all global sporting activities, including the World Cup and Olympics, for four years after the Russian government was found to have (once again) concocted an elaborate and wide-ranging doping program for years.

    This ban stems from a World Anti-Doping Agency January investigation to determine Russia's compliance with worldwide doping rules. In January, WADA officials traveled to Russia to collect samples from a testing lab at the center of their earlier doping scandal back in 2014 that led to the first round of sanctions against the country. It soon became clear to the WADA officials that "a significant number of the results in the data the Russians surrendered to WADA had been changed or deleted in an effort to cover up — at minimum — dozens of potential doping violations."

    What is now known is that the doping program has been around since late 2011 and never really stopped despite the numerous times they have been caught. So, the real question isn't whether a four year ban is too harsh, but instead whether a four year ban will actually convince Russia to cease their doping program.

    Russia didn't create cheating or doping in sports, but they sure, for lack of a better analogy, injected steroids into it. They turned something that a bad apple here and there does into a sophisticated, state-run doping conspiracy designed to give them a secret competitive advantage. The WADA is doing its best to get them back in line, but it remains to be known whether Russia will get in line.

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    So can individual Russians still enter into the Olympics this time? I believe Russian athletes got to compete in the last Olympics when the country was banned (for the same thing), they just couldn't declare Russia as their country. I think they used a loophole in the system where they just didn't declare a country.

    Makes the ban less damning to Russia in that case, if their athletes can still compete.

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    Individual athletes will still be able to compete in the Olympics under a neutral flag if they can "prove they are clean and unconnected to the doping cover-up," but I think the bigger one here is Russia being banned from participating in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

    That is unless FIFA somehow allows a "neutral country" to participate in the World Cup. That may not be as crazy as it sounds considering how corrupt FIFA is...