The Russian Doping Scandal Explained

2016 Summer Olympics

Despite the 2016 Olympics economic success for Rio, the prominent sporting event experienced a number of controversies. The widespread outbreak of the Zika virus caused many Olympic teams to take extra precautions (Umlauf & Shin, 2016). Another major concern for Olympic officials was the use of performance enhancing drugs by Russian athletes. Described as one of the biggest conspiracies in sports history, the Russian doping scandal resulted in approximately 120 athletes being banned from the 2016 Summer Olympic Games (Bishara, 2016; Price, 2016).

(Bloomberg, 2016)

International Olympic Committee Final Decision for Rio 2016
Thomas Bach, IOC President (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images)

In July 2016, the International Olympic Committee Executive Board gave the president of the Russian Olympic Committee, Alexander Zhukov, an opportunity to present a case for the athletes, via a phone conference. He stressed that the ROC and Russia would provide full cooperation for an investigation into the doping issue and that the ROC was committed to a full restructuring of the Russian anti-doping system. According to Zhukov , all Russian athletes competing in the Rio 2016 games were tested by foreign anti-doping agencies within the last six months and results came back negative (International Olympic Committee, 2016). The IOC Executive Board (EB) ultimately decided that it was not fair to punish the collective whole without allowing the athletes an opportunity to defend their individual cases. As a result, athletes had to meet specific requirements to participate in the Summer 2016 Olympic Games (International Olympic Committee, 2016).


Athletes had to provide evidence to his or her International Federation of the absence of a positive anti-doping test.

No athlete who had ever tested positive to doping, even if he or she served the required time because of it, could participate in Rio 2016.

Accepted Rio 2016 athletes were subject to additional drug testing.

Google Images


Bishara, M. (2016, July 21). Russian doping: “An unprecedented attack on the integrity of sport & on the Olympic Games” - Retrieved April 12, 2017, from

International Olympic Committee. (2016, July 24). Decision of the IOC Executive Board concerning the participation of Russian athletes in the Olympic Games Rio 2016. Retrieved April 20, 2017, from

Olympic Photos, Galleries & Slideshows | Top Olympic Images. (2017, February 23). Retrieved April 26, 2017, from

Price, S. (2016, July 22). Everything you need to know about the doping scandal rocking the Russian national team - Retrieved April 12, 2017, from

Bloomberg. (2016). Russia’s Olympics Doping Scandal, Explained. Retrieved from

Umlauf, T., & Shin, Y. (2016, August 3). How Big a Threat Will Zika Be At the Olympics? Retrieved April 12, 2017, from

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