Russia has been banned from the Winter Olympics on the basis of IOC's evidence of "unprecedented systematic manipulation" of the anti-doping system.
Russia faces ban from the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
It followed the release of a report which the International Olympics Committee said found evidence of “unprecedented systematic manipulation” of the anti-doping system.
Here’s how Russia got into this position and what happens next.
Why there is a ban on Russia?
The Schmid Commission, led by former Swiss president Samuel Schmid, was given the job of looking into alleged Russian doping. Particularly at the 2014 Sochi Olympics where the country spearheads the medal table with 13 gold medals out of 33 overall.
Its conclusion was partly on the basis of the testimony of Grigory Rodchenkov. He was the director of Moscow’s Anti-Doping Centre during the Sochi Olympics.
Mr Rodchenkov fled the country in 2015 and became a whistleblower. Meanwhile in May 2016 he explains the New York Times swapping of urine samples of Russian athletes to falsify the drug use.
He said that the conspiracy involved passing urine samples through a hole in a wall and adding table salt to swapped samples to mask the deception.
Mr Schmid said there was also further scientific evidence, witness statements, documents and correspondence which demonstrates Russia’s anti-doping system manipulations.
Why was Russia allowed to compete in Rio if this was already known?
IOC President Thomas Bach said the situation had changed.
“[Ahead of Rio] there was no opportunity to hear the Russian side and at the time of Rio it was mainly about the failure in the Moscow lab,” he said.
“Now it’s about the manipulation of an Olympic lab. The conditions then and now are totally different.”
However, back in 2015 — a year before the Rio Olympics — the World Anti-Doping Agency issued its own damning report on the scandal.
Its findings went further than the IOC’s, saying the conspiracy has state-sponsorship. And also the Russian secret service agents involvement in the same.
Russia’s inclusion in the 2016 Rio Olympics wasn’t unrestricted, however, with bans for the entire weightlifting team and all track and field athletes but one.
International sports federations is advised to decide individually on Russia’s participation.
So does the IOC think the Russian Government’s involement in the conspiracy?
The Schmid Commission said it had not found “documented, independent and impartial evidence”. Surely that the Kremlin had knowledge or involvement in the anti-doping manipulation.
However, current Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko has had a lifetime Olympic ban placed on him.
He who was the sports minister when the manipulation took place. He’s also the man responsible for running next year’s FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Will any Russian athletes compete?
Yes, that’s the plan.
The IOC said some Russian athletes will be allowed to compete under the tag of “Olympic Athlete of Russia”.
On condition that they satisfy strict conditions that show they have a doping-free background.
Russia’s Gold Medal Anthem
That means if a Russian athlete were to win a gold medal, it would be the Olympic anthem. And not the Russian, that will audio feature.
Previously, suspended countries have used terms such as “Independent Olympic Athlete”.
Will Russia go along with all this?
That’s unclear. Russia could refuse the offer and boycott the Games.
The head of the Russian Olympic Committee, Alexander Zhukov, said Russian athletes would appeal against the ban. But he also had positive things to say.
“Speaking about the positive sides, the International Olympic Committee allowed all clean Russian athletes both in individual and team sports to compete in the Olympics. This is first. Secondly, this team will be a annotation of Russian athletes,” he adds.
“If the Olympics go normally and there are no violations, the temporary suspension on the Russian Olympic Committee will see revival.
“And one of the positive decisions is that all doping sanctions and investigations against Russian athletes will stop from this moment.”
He adds a “final decision” about the conditions of Russia’s participation in the Olympics will arrive at the Olympic Council on December 12.
We also haven’t heard yet from Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has previously said it would be humiliating for his country to compete without national symbols.