Update: The IOC has not barred the Russian Federation from the Olympic Games, but has put very stringent restrictions upon their participation.
While no official announcement has come from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), British news outlet The Daily Mail is reporting that “well-placed sources” have told them that the organization decided today to ban all 387 Russian athletes from competing at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. If the sources prove accurate, this will be the first time that Russia has not competed at an Olympic Games since the Russian Olympic Committee was recognized in 1993 after the fall of the Soviet Union, though the related Soviet Union team self-imposed a boycott of the 1984 Games hosted in Los Angeles. Last week, a report by Richard McLaren (the McLaren report), commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Association, confirmed a wide-spread, state-sponsored doping apparatus in Russia. The report specifically centered on the 2014 Russian-hosted Olympics, where there were protocols put in place to protect Russian athletes. This would also mark the first time in history that an entire country has been barred from the Olympics for doping. The IOC, after the McLaren report, said that they had to await the decision by the international Court of Arbitration for Sport with regard to the IAAF’s ban of all Russian athletics federations before making a decision. The CAS upheld that ban by rejecting an appeal from 67 Russian athletes and the Russian Olympic Committee. The Russians’ primary outlet to appeal this decision would be to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. It’s unclear at this point if there are any other legal avenues for the Russian Olympic Committee, though their president Vladimir Putin has taken a keen interest in the matter. The Daily Mail is saying that “senior IOC figures are also advocating a ban for the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.” The sources did, however, say that IOC president Thomas Bach is open to allowing certain Russian individual athletes to compete at the Olympics under the neutral Olympic flag. These athletes would have to prove a higher standard of being undoped, which might include training outside of Russia and their sphere of corruption. International federations, which in the case of swimming would be FINA, will be asked to “examine the personal merits of potential Russian athletes, to assess whether they can compete as exceptional cases,” the Daily Mail continued. Two athletes have already been cleared to compete outside of the IAAF ban of athletics: a distance runner who blew the whistle on the Russian doping scheme, and a long-jumper Darya Klishina, who is based in Florida in the United States. Among the key members of the Russian Olympic Team who train outside of Russia are Vlad Morozov, who primarily trains in Southern California. An interesting test of the IOC’s willingness to grant exceptions will be two others trained in America: Yulia Efimova and Grigory Tarasevich. Both have tested positive for the banned substance meldonium in 2016, and both have been cleared without suspensions. By the alleged standard of being outside of the sphere of Russian influence, both would meet that duty despite both having been sanctioned by public warnings for their tests. An IOC spokesman says that the Executive Board will meet on Sunday to discuss the matter and send out a statement shortly thereafter.