The New York Times has reported that the International Olympic Committee has leveled an explosive, unprecedented punishment on Russia after an investigation into the country’s “systematic” doping habits. As penalty for what was evidently a widespread, country-sanctioned system of injecting athletes with performance enhancing drugs, Russia has “been barred from the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The country’s government officials are forbidden to attend, its flag will not be displayed at the opening ceremony and its anthem will not sound.”
Russia is typically a formidable athletic force in the Olympic games, with their all-time medal count coming in second only to the United States.
The IOC did make a possible allowance for certain athletes with a history of “rigorous drug testing” to petition to be allowed to compete, but they would have to do so in a neutral uniform and, should they win, their national anthem would not play and their medal would not considered part of Russia’s overall medal total, which will stay at zero for the length of the 2018 games.