The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has banned Russia from taking part in next year’s Winter Olympic Games that are going to be held in PyeongChang, South Korea. After some investigations, the IOC concluded that the Russian government was involved in giving its athletes drugs that gave them an advantage when they played their sport in the last Winter Olympic Games. (This practice is called “doping”, where drugs or other techniques are used to illegally improve and enhance athletic performance. An athlete not using such drugs is called “clean”.) The last Winter Olympics were held in the Russian city of Sochi in 2014. Russia denies that the government was involved.
Taking performance-enhancing drugs is cheating. In fact, Olympic officials give athletes repeated blood and urine tests to make sure that they aren’t taking drugs to get an unfair advantage. Some of the Russian athletes who had won in the 2014 Winter Olympics and found guilty of taking drugs have had their medals taken away. Also, in the 2016 Summer Olympics held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, some Russian athletes were not allowed to take part because of doping issues.
The IOC has said that individual Russian athletes who have been clean can take part in the 2018 Winter Olympics under the name “Olympic Athlete from Russia”. They will compete in a uniform showing this name and under the Olympic Flag. If they win any medals, the Olympic Anthem will be played at the ceremony. Usually, athletes compete under their nation’s flag, wearing their country’s uniform, and if they win, their nation’s national anthem is played at the awards ceremony.
Image Credits: https://www.olympic.org for the 2014 Winter Olympic image, 2018 Winter Olympic image, and the Olympic flag image
Sources: https://www.merriam-webster.com, https://www.olympic.org, BBC