Russia at the 2018 Olympics

Tensions in the Russian doping scandal have deepened as two participating Russian athletes received positive drug test results in the last weeks of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

This year, there was noticeably no official Russian team at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Instead many Russian athletes were competing under the Olympic flag and the title “Olympic Athlete from Russia” (OAR).

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced on December 4, 2017 that Russia would be barred from participating in the 2018 Winter Olympics after concluding that many Russian Olympic athletes had partaken in a state-backed doping system that did not follow anti-doping regulations. Despite this, Russian athletes were originally going to be allowed to march under the Russian flag at the closing ceremony.

This year, the IOC created a pathway for clean Russian Olympians to continue to compete in PyeongChang. The “Olympic Athletes from Russia” team consists of 169 athletes who underwent rigorous drug testing prior to the start of the games.

However, both Alexander Krushelnytsky, Olympic curler, and Nadezhda Sergeeva, Olympic bobsledder, failed the drug tests that were conducted after their events. In the wake of this, the IOC continued the suspension of the Russian Olympic Committee, meaning the Russian flag was not shown in the closing ceremony. In addition, Krushelnytsky’s bronze medal was stripped from the OAR medal count.

At the Sochi Winter Olympics, Russia had a medal count of 33 until 43 of its athletes were disqualified, leaving their medal count at 20. While the Russian national anthem was not played during the opening ceremony, the OAR team was still the third largest team competing in the 2018 Winter Olympics behind the United States and Canada, according to BBC. The “Olympic Athletes from Russia” won 17 medals by the end of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics on February 25.