In what The New York Times calls “an extraordinary punishment without precedent in Olympics history,” the entire Russian track and field team has been barred from competing in this summer’s Olympic Games due to a far-reaching doping scandal.
The news is the latest blow to the Games, scheduled to be televised by NBC. The runup to the Rio Games has already been marred by concerns over security and the Zika virus.
“The global governing body for track and field, known as the IAAF, announced the decision on Friday, ruling in a unanimous vote that Russia had not done enough to restore global confidence in the integrity of its athletes,” The Times reports. “The International Olympic Committee, the ultimate authority over the Games, is due to discuss the decision on Tuesday. If Olympics officials were to amend the ruling against Russia, it would be an unusual move, as they have historically deferred to the governing bodies for specific sports.”
The move comes after the Russian government was implicated in what has been described as a large-scale doping conspiracy.
“Russian track and field athletes have been suspended from international competition for the last seven months, after the publication of a report by the World Anti-Doping Agency that accused the nation of an elaborate government-run doping program,” The Times reports. “Though Russia denied those accusations, the country’s track and field authorities did not contest the suspension when given an opportunity in November.”