IOC Declines to Ban Russia from Rio; Gymnasts En Route
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The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has declined to issue a blanket ban for all Russian athletes from the 2016 Olympic Games on Sunday following allegations of government-sponsored doping in Moscow and at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has declined to issue a blanket ban for all Russian athletes from the 2016 Olympic Games on Sunday following allegations of government-sponsored doping in Moscow and at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

While Russia will not be barred as a nation, the IOC issued additional criteria for Russian athletes, all of which indicate a positive outcome for Russian gymnasts. No Russian athlete who has ever been sanctioned for a positive drug test will be allowed to compete. Athletes personally implicated in the McClaren report's accusations of sample tampering will not be admitted. Gymnastics was not among the sports named in in the report's 600+ cases of sample tampering at the Moscow lab, and no member of Russia's gymnastics teams has been sanctioned.

Additionally, all Russian athletes who participate will be subject to "rigorous" out-of-competition tests to ensure they are clean from doping. Typically, testing at the Olympic Games is required of all medalists and randomly for other athletes, but all Russians will be tested in Rio de Janeiro, likely repeatedly.

The IOC Executive Committee met Sunday morning to discuss punitive measures for Russia. IOC President Thomas Bach made the official announcement via media teleconference on Sunday afternoon. Bach repeatedly stressed the importance of due process for those accused of wrongdoing. He stated that the IOC has established a disciplinary commission to fully investigate the allegations and to allow those accused a chance to defend themselves prior to sanctions. Further sanctions may follow "once the other side has had the opportunity to present its case and had the right to be heard."

Meanwhile, members of Russia's gymnastics squads departed Moscow at 6 a.m. Sunday morning and are on their way to Rio de Janeiro. The gymnastics team, the first of Russia's athletes to depart, is scheduled to arrive at 6 p.m. local time in Rio.

The 2016 Summer Olympic Games begin August 5 in Rio de Janeiro.

External link: IOC Decision

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