Olympic expert available to comment on WADA banning Russia from 2020 Games

With the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) ruling today that Russia is banned from the 2020 Olympics and the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the director of Western University’s International Centre for Olympic Studies (ICOS) is available to media for comment.

Angela J. Schneider, a former Olympian, studies genetic doping in sport, sport medicine ethics, women in sport and embodiment and the philosophy of sport.

Schneider won a silver medal at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles as a member of the Canadian coxed four women’s rowing team.

“The world is facing one of the greatest sports scandals in modern time for two reasons: one is related to doping and cheating and the other is related to corruption,” says Schneider. “Russia, one of the largest sports nations, has cheated, manipulated and deleted evidence. Russia has been found guilty of betraying not only Olympic values and fair play, but has also betrayed the trust of all clean athletes around the world.”

WADA used its newly developed powers through the compliance standard to sanction Russia. These powers were not available to WADA when Russia was first declared non-compliant after the initial investigations in 2017. WADA has banned Russia from all major sports events for four years, this includes the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020 and the World Cup finals in Qatar 2022. Russian athletes will still be able to compete under a ‘neutral’ flag as they did at the last Olympic Games and to compete in non-major sports events like Euro-2020 so this is not a ‘blanket’ ban.

“Russia has been given multiple chances to correct its path, to be transparent and join the world of sport, but it has failed to show any sign of good faith, over and over again. Many anti-doping agencies and athlete groups do not feel that this sanction goes far enough and would prefer a blanket ban even though Russia will likely appeal it,” says Schneider. “Russia has shown no intention to voluntarily comply and follow the rules on doping. The response of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) now is critical. The world is watching for these stewards and guardians of sport values to defend what is right. The world is looking for strong leadership.”

Commentary reflects the perspective and scholarly interest of Western faculty members and is not an articulation of official university policy on issues being addressed.

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