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Doping scandal affects Russian Olympic athletes

Lela Miller, Staffer

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It is finally time for the competition that allows viewers to unite and support their country’s team as they compete for gold, silver or bronze medals. It is finally time for viewers to anxiously watch skiing, snowboarding, ice skating and many, many more winter-related sports. It is finally time for the 2018 Winter Olympics.

This year’s Olympics takes place in Pyeongchang, South Korea. While the tensions between South and North Korea have been discussed because of the Olympics’ location, those tensions have calmed down so North Korea can participate. Instead, there is tension over something else: doping.

Doping is the use of banned drugs that enhances the performance of athletes so they can win easily. It is considered irresponsible and dangerous and is decidedly against the rules of every competing sport.

One of the more well-known cases of doping would be cyclist Lance Armstrong. He had dodged numerous allegations until he confessed to it Jan. 2013 on live TV. His deals were cut from companies and his fall from the pedestal in America’s eyes was swift. Once a beloved celebrity, Armstrong now represents just how severe the consequences of doping can be.

Even with Armstrong’s stark visual, doping still continues in the sporting world, especially in events as big as the Olympics. Countries such as Russia have also had their fair share of problems with doping.  

“[Russian doping athletes] are ruining their careers and bodies and minds,” Cross country runner Maddie Brown said.

Just like Armstrong, the Russian athletes have faced consequences for their actions.

On Dec. 5, 2017, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) banned Russia from the 2018 Winter Olympics. This ruling came after a 17-month long investigation into alleged doping in the 2014 Winter Olympics, which took place in Sochi, Russia.

The ban, however, does not apply to athletes who did not use performance-enhancing drugs; they are welcome to participate as an Olympic Athlete from Russia. In all, there are a slated 169 athletes from Russia participating as an Olympic Athlete from Russia.

This approval does not mean that the athletes will not be watched carefully. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) came to one of the approved teams, the Russian women’s hockey team, for an inspection during their first practice.

The 2018 Winter Olympics start on Thursday, Feb. 8, on NBC, beginning with the opening ceremony and figure skating.

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Doping scandal affects Russian Olympic athletes