By Annie Ross
Russia’s track and field athletes will be banished from competing at the Rio Olympics this summer, following a ruling by the International Association of Athletics Federations to uphold a suspension.
Reeling from multiple reports of widespread, systemic, state-sponsored doping, the Russian athletes were initially suspended in November. A five-member task force presented an update to the IAAF, the governing body for track and field, at a Friday afternoon meeting in Vienna.
Rather than opt for a compromise or perhaps allow athletes with no history of doping to compete at the Summer Games, council members barred the entire Russian team.
In a statement, Vitaly Mutko, the Russian Federation’s minister of sport, expressed disappointment in the IAAF’s decision and said the Russians “have nothing to hide and feel we had met the IAAF’s conditions for re-entry.”
“Clean athletes’ dreams are being destroyed because of the reprehensible behavior of other athletes and officials,” said Mutko. “They have sacrificed years of their lives striving to compete at the Olympics and now that sacrifice looks likely to be wasted.”