A last-minute appeal from 45 Russian athletes and two coaches against a ban preventing them from competing in the Winter Olympics has failed.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport’s secretary-general announced the ruling with just hours to go before the Games got underway in PyeongChang, South Korea.
As some of the people banned have no prior doping convictions, investigative journalist Dave Lindorff said he thinks “a lot of it has to be politics.”
Lindorff recalled that other countries had been accused of “nationally-run doping campaigns” but their teams had not been banned.
“The individuals who don’t pass tests obviously are banned or have their medals taken away if they are found to have been doped earlier,” Lindorff continued.
He pointed out that this kind of ban on a whole team “reeks of an attack on the nation rather than individuals who are cheating.”
According to Lindorff, “the thing is that the Olympics are not just what they are made out to be: the celebration of amateur athletes. It is big money.”
“People who win these gold medals become endorsers of products and can make a fortune. It is a huge life change. If you have worked that hard to get to the top and then it is taken away from you, it isn’t just national honor, it is incomes.”