Antidoping Officials May Request to Bar Russia Completely From 2016 Rio Olympics

Rio Olympics
The official logo for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Buda Mendes/Getty Images

Will Russia be banned from the Olympics? Antidoping officials are reportedly preparing to request that the nation’s athlete representatives be barred from competing in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio following allegations of a doping scandal.

According to The New York Times, at least 10 nations — including the United States, Germany, Spain, Japan, Switzerland and Canada — and 20 athlete groups “were expected to pressure Olympic leaders on the matter” as soon as Monday, July 18, less than a month before the event’s August 5 opening ceremony.

The newspaper reported that the antidoping officials were waiting for the results of an investigation into Russia’s alleged state-sponsored doping program at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

“It seems very likely that the Report will confirm what will be one of the biggest doping scandals in history, implicating the Russian Government in a massive conspiracy against the clean athletes of the world,” Joseph de Pencier, the chief executive of the Institute of National Anti-Doping Organizations wrote in a statement to the NYT. “This will be a ‘watershed moment’ for clean sport.”

As previously reported, The New York Times published an exposé in May alleging that dozens of Russian athletes took anabolic steroids and were involved in urine swaps and testing cover-ups. The report also accused Russian government officials of tampering with urine and blood samples.

Russian officials slammed the allegations, which they insist are merely a smear campaign against Russia by Western nations. The sovereign state’s track and field team has already been barred from competing in Rio for doping violations after a preliminary report was released last month.

The 2016 Olympics have been the center of several political controversies in recent months following safety concerns surrounding the Zika virus and the pollution in Guanabara Bay.

The Rio Olympics begin August 5 and will be streamed live on NBCOlympics.com and on the NBC Sports app. The Rio Paralympics begin September 7 and will be streamed live on TeamUSA.org.

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