The Russian flag may be missing from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Russia, which was banned from the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics due to non-compliance with anti-doping policies, is facing another ban after a World Anti-Doping Agency panel issued a statement Friday suggesting a ban for the next two Olympics – the 2020 summer games in Tokyo and 2022 winter games in Beijing.
The statement cited that an independent Compliance Review Committee found a number of inconsistencies in data taken from a Moscow laboratory in Jan. 2019, including fake evidence intended to incriminate whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov, the former lab director.
WADA said it gave the Russian Anti-Doping Agency and the Russian Ministry of Sport an opportunity to explain the inconsistencies, but there was enough evidence of tampered data to suggest the ban continues. The WADA executive committee will meet Dec. 9 in Paris to discuss the findings. They will also consider banning Russia from hosting world championships through 2023, and block them from bidding for the 2032 Olympics. The International Olympic Committee released a Tuesday statement saying that it will “support the toughest sanctions against all those responsible for this manipulation,” according to the Associated Press.
“The (WADA) report proves that any manipulation of the data is the sole responsibility of the Russian authorities,” the IOC statement said. “This flagrant manipulation is an attack on the credibility of sport itself and is an insult to the sporting movement worldwide.”
The Moscow laboratory was closed when the investigation began in 2015. Despite the ban, Russian athletes still competed at the 2018 Olympics. The 168 athletes who were able to prove they hadn't cheated competed under a neutral flag as “Olympic Athletes from Russia.” The athletes came home with 17 medals, including two gold, six silver and nine bronze. It was a far cry from the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, when Russia led the medal count with 29, including 13 golds.
The Associated Press reported Monday that Russian Olympic Committee president Stanislav Pozdnyakov called for “a complete change of the whole management” in the Russian Athletics Federation.
Dmitry Shlyakhtin resigned from his position as the federation’s president after he was one of seven Russians charged for obstructing an anti-doping investigation.