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REPORT: Russia Faces Olympic Ban Over Continued Doping

REPORT: Russia Faces Olympic Ban Over Continued Doping

On Thursday, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) decided to uphold its suspension of Russia's anti-doping body, RUSADA, calling into question Russia's eligibility to compete in the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

WADA's decision comes ahead of a meeting of the International Olympic Committee early next month in which the fate of Russia will ultimately be decided.

The ban stems from doping allegations dating back to 2011 and going through 2015. Russia, a traditional Olympics powerhouse, hosted the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, and led the medal count before the alleged state-sanctioned doping was discovered.

And while the IOC decided not to ban Russia from the 2016 Summer games in Rio de Janeiro, it did leave the decision up to each individual sport.

WADA president Craig Reedie maintained that the governing body doesn't have the final say about the games, saying, "We do not have the right to decide who takes part in international competition. The major event-holder has that right."

He added: "We regret that RUSADA is not yet compliant. Technically, they have improved hugely since compliance was removed. But having set a road map for compliance, there are two issues that have to be fulfilled and we can't walk away from the commitments we have from that road map."

One of those issues is that RUSADA must "publicly accept the reported outcomes" of the investigation, which they have not yet done.

And while Thursday's WADA decision doesn't necessarily mean that Russia won't be able to compete in South Korea, it still could have undesirable consequences.

For Russian Olympic hopefuls, there could be an alternative that would allow them to compete should the IOC uphold the ban. As in years past, Russian athletes would be able to compete under the neutral banner of the Olympic flag.

Needless to say, Russia isn't happy with WADA's decision.

"We accept the fact our national anti-doping system has failed... (but) we absolutely deny a state-sponsored doping system," Russian Olympic Committee president Alexander Zhukov told reporters in Seoul.

Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov added: "We are ready to go forward and work openly in the full standards of WADA. Please let us be compliant."

Many agreed that perhaps the WADA was being too hard on Russia:

Now we wait for the IOC's decision:

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H/T: Yahoo! Sports, Twitter