The Side Door Into Pyeongchang

How stringent will that assessment panel be?

That’s the key question. In its decision on Tuesday, the Olympic committee stipulated that “athletes must have undergone all of the pre-Games targeted tests” commonly required of Olympians, in addition to “any other tests requirements specified by the panel to ensure a level playing field.”

Exactly what those other requirements will be could have a marked difference about the entire number who compete, particularly given drug testing in Russia has been limited compared with other nations, in light of its antidoping agency’s continued suspension.

Which athletes have the largest hurdles to clear?

Any athlete implicated in an enormous database of laboratory evidence, that was recently obtained by global regulators, may very well be automatically disqualified. That database contains the test results of multiple years of medicine tests executed in Moscow at Russia’s nationwide antidoping laboratory. The effects of these tests as entered into the global testing program could be compared to some of the test results – revealing cases in which officials mindfully misrepresented an athlete’s purity.

Russian athletes from biathlon, cross-region skiing and bobsled have already been disproportionately disqualified from Sochi, and the database involved contains hundreds of invisible drug violations from those sports, according to persons acquainted with its contents.

Which athletes have the very best chances?

Drug use was rampant among Russia’s leading Olympians however, not necessarily general. In sports like shape skating, anabolic steroids could be of little value.

Relating to Grigory Rodchenkov – the whistle-blower who headed Russia’s antidoping lab and devised the infamous medicine cocktail distributed to a large number of Olympians at the 2014 Sochi Video games – figure skaters didn’t take on his concoction of liquor and steroids. Nor performed the men’s hockey staff, he said.

Therefore when the Pyeongchang Video games begin, how many athletes from Russia will end up being there?

We don’t know. It’ll most likely be more when compared to a handful but significantly less than the 232 the country had at the last Winter Games. Until the final number is known it is tough to know how much this punishment will sting.

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How is this not the same as summer 2016?

Russia wasn’t banned from the 2016 Rio Olympics, but there is great disarray found in the final weeks prior to the Video games; officials from each sport in the same way scrutinized athletes to determine if indeed they were drug-free and could compete.

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The review panel that finally approved athletes’ eligibility in 2016 was made up of sports officials who were members of the Olympic committee, persons whom critics called conflicted for attempting to be friendly toward Russia, a huge sports power and key host of winter competitions.

This year’s panel – though its specific membership is not yet known – has been framed by the Olympic committee as more independent. It’ll include a person appointed by the Universe Anti-Doping Organization, the global regulator of drugs in athletics; a person appointed by the Doping-Free Sport Product of the Global Association of International Sports activities Federations; as well as a person appointed by the International Olympic Committee’s very own medical and scientific director.

Has a punishment like this ever been issued before?

Not for doping. But athletes have absolutely competed as neutral individuals in prior Olympics. At the 2016 Summer Games, athletes from Kuwait performed thus after their nation have been suspended for authorities interference in Olympic affairs.

So this mimics past examples of neutral athletes taking part in the Olympics for themselves instead of their nations?

Nearly. Typically, neutral athletes are identified as just that. But each authorized athlete from Russia will be referred to in competition as an “Olympic athlete from Russia,” with “OAR” emblazoned on a neutral uniform, though it will not reflect any Russian emblems.

At the 2016 Rio Games, each independent athlete from Kuwait was simply discovered as an Independent Olympic Athlete, without mention of Kuwait.

What will President Vladimir V. Putin consider all this?

Though there have been speculation of a boycott, Putin on Wednesday encouraged Russia’s athletes to use to compete as individuals.

Regulators experience said that Russia needs to accept the data of the nation’s cheating before they restore the united states to good standing, as a result swallowing this penalty could hasten a good go back to normalcy for Russian athletes.

Yelena Isinbayeva, a pole-vaulter from Russia who was simply barred from the 2016 Video games and subsequently elected to the International Olympic Committee’s athletes commission, on Wednesday urged Russian athletes to focus on the “spoonfuls of honey” contained in the decision.

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“‘Olympic athlete from RUSSIA’ is already a positive,” she wrote on interpersonal media. “They aren’t neutral, they aren’t neutral, they will be from RUSSIA, and this will be said all over the place.”

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