The Russia doping scandal is only the tip of the iceberg
By Annie Korn-Morris
Russia is collecting bans from competitions as it once did with medals, following a historic decision from the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Russian athletes have previously missed out on the 2016 Summer Paralympics, London's Athletics World Championships, and a large chunk were removed from the 2016 Rio Olympics as a result of the McLaren Report.
The country has now been banned from the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang - although some Russian athletes will be allowed to compete under a neutral flag.
They have also been ordered to pay $15 million in costs. This comes after it was revealed by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) that there is evidence of a state-run doping scheme in Russia during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
Many have argued that this decision is unfair as there have been other Olympians involved in doping. In fact, doping culture is an issue that is ongoing in the Olympics despite efforts to weed it out.
The BALCO scandal came to light in the early 2000s, when federal agents began investigating the involvement of a California-based lab by the name of Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) in doping. The investigation found that they had been supplying performance-enhancing drugs to major athletes for over a decade. Some of the American Olympians who were accused or admitted to doping using BALCO include former world champion track and field athlete, Marion Jones, former world record holder Tim Montgomery and former gold medalist Kelli White. They were all stripped of their titles, and some athletes were suspended from competition for two to four years, given a fine or prison time, or just a warning.
In early 2016, an Olympic champion, Wang Junxia, admitted that she had been part of a Chinese state-sponsored doping regime, similar to that of Russia has been accused of. It was revealed in a letter signed by numerous Chinese Olympic athletes that during the 1990s many female athletes were forced by their coaches to inject performance-enhancing drugs.
As well as these particularly large-scale scandals, and others like them, there have been numerous athletes from various countries caught doping during the Olympics. It is an ongoing issue, as already stated, and it is clearly not something Russians alone are guilty of.
The 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea will take place from February 9, 2018 and will conclude on February 25 - without the Russian team.