If anyone who has been following the Tokyo Olympics closely, he/she must have noticed ROC or Russian Olympic Committee dominating the medal tally. And on close observation one must have wondered, why are the Russian atheletes participating under this banner and not their country name.
So far ROC members have bagged a total of 58 medals, which include 16 gold, 22 silver, and 20 bronze.
So what exactly is ROC?
A total of 335 athletes are taking part as ROC members as Russia were handed a ban from taking part in the Tokyo 2020. These atheletes are not allowed to use the country’s name, flag and the national anthem.
Why are Russia banned from the Tokyo Olympics?
Russia were handed this ban by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), who accused the country of doping violation in 2019. The consequence of which was that the country was suspended from taking part in any international sports meet, including the Tokyo Olympics and the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Russia came under WADA’s scanner in September 2018, after it asked the country to hand over the data of atheltes from its Moscow laboratory to the doping regulators. After multiple investigation, WADA accused Russia of manipulating that database, which ultimately led to the four-year ban.
Why did Russia come under the scanner?
There have been two instances, one in 2014 and the other two years later, which revealed of Russia’s doping programmes involving RUSADA – Russian Anti-Doping Agency.
In the first incident, which took place in 2014, 800m runner Yulia Stepanova and her husband Vitaly, ex-employee of RUSADA, spoke about the doping programme in a German documentary.
After the incident, Grigory Rodchenkov, who was a former head of the RUSADA, revealed to The New York Times that the country ran a state-sponsored doping scheme, which drew more light into the matter.
He had then alleged that during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, the country’s representatives in intelligence services used to substitute the urine samples of the athletes through a hidden hole in the wall at the agency’s laboratory.
Following which, not just WADA but other global federations launched a series of investigations against RUSADA.
What were the consequences?
The accreditation of RUSADA was immediately suspended in 2015 and it also had a major impact on Russia’s contingent, who were supposed to take part in Rio Olympics. The country also faced problems at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, infact the participating Russian athletes were not allowed to wear the country’s uniform at the event.
What is the present status?
After an appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the four-year ban was reduced to two. However, no official Russian team are allowed to participate in events organised by a WADA signatory. The ban will end on December 16, 2022.