Russia, Opening Ceremony, 2014, Winter, Olympics

AP Photo/Mark Humphrey,

The International Olympic Committee has spoken—Russia is officially out of the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

The New York Times reports that the IOC made the announcement from Switzerland on Tuesday that due to widespread and system doping that Russia's government officials are forbidden to attend, its flag will not be displayed at the opening ceremony and its anthem will not sound. Additionally, any athletes from Russia who compete will do so as individuals wearing a neutral uniform. The official Olympic record books will say that Russia won zero medals at the Games.

The tough punishment came down on the country, which has long been a top medal-earner in the Games, after a final report and a two-year investigation found that the nation was guilty of executing an extensive state-backed doping program.

The IOC President Thomas Bach said the country's doping program "represents an unprecedented attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games."

"This should draw a line under this damaging episode," the IOC said today.

While Russia as a nation is out of the games, Russian athletes who can prove their innocence of drug cheating will be permitted to compete under the designation of an "Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR)."

After a series of investigations by the World Anti-Doping Agency, it has been concluded that more than 1,000 Russian athletes in at least 30 sports, including both summer and winter events, had been involved in doping, which dated from at least 2011.


The 2018 Olympic Winter Games go from Feb 9, 2018 – Feb 25, 2018.

This ban marks the toughest punishment on a country in the history of the games, but this certainly isn't the only Olympic scandal.

Check out the biggest and most shocking stories in the history of the games...

Larry Nassar

AP Photo/Paul Sancya

Former U.S. Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar pleaded guilty to seven counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct in Ingham County (Mich.) Circuit Court on Wednesday. He faces an indeterminate sentence of 25 to 40 years for each of the seven counts.

Nassar, 54, had been accused of molesting young athletes while working with the U.S. gymnastics team and Michigan State University. Some of the victims cited in the counts were between 13 to 15 years old while others were under the age of 13.

U.S. Olympians Gabby DouglasAly Raisman and McKayla Maroney have all come forward as victims of Nassar's abuse.

Ryan Lochte, Olympian

Harry How/Getty Images

In August 2016, the 32-year-old swimmer falsely claimed that he and Team USA swimmers GunnarBentzJack Conger and James Feigen were robbed at gunpoint at a gas station in Brazil during the Rio Games. He was admittedly "hammered" at the time, as he'd been celebrating their win; Lochte later confessed he didn't remember all the details of the night. After returning to the Olympic Village, Lochte exaggerated the story to his mom, who later told the media that Lochte had been robbed at gunpoint. He repeated the story on NBC's Today—and before long, his lies got the best of him.

At first, Lochte had told Billy Bush on the Today show, "We got pulled over, in the taxi, and these guys came out with a badge, a police badge, no lights, no nothing just a police badge and they pulled us over. They pulled out their guns, they told the other swimmers to get down on the ground—they got down on the ground. I refused, I was like we didn't do anything wrong, so I'm not getting down on the ground."

After the truth came out, Lochte was dropped by his sponsors and a given a 10-month suspension by the U.S.A. Swimming and the United States Olympic Committee.

Vladimir Putin

Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images

Doping is bad enough. Government-sponsored doping is a whole new level. In the months leading up to the Rio Games, investigators determined that the Russian government had knowingly covered up and even encouraged the utilization of illegal drugs. More than 100 Russian athletes were officially barred from the Rio Games in 2016, including entire teams. 

Rory McIlroy


A number of athletes opted out of the 2016 Olympic Games following the Brazilian Zika virus outbreak, which has caused widespread concern among athletes, reporters, and spectators attend the events. The mosquito-borne disease is linked to birth defects and other serious illness, and for several competitors, it's just not worth the risk. Seven of the world's top golfers declined their Olympics opportunities, including Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott, and Jason Day, who tweeted, "Playing golf cannot take precedent over the safety of our family." Soccer star Hope Solo said she would "begrudgingly" participate, despite her hesitations. Meanwhile, basketball legends-to-be LeBron James and Steph Curry have claimed that the virus is totally unrelated to their decisions to not participate.

Maria Sharapova, Sports Scandals

Recep Sakar/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Fans were shocked to learn the Russian tennis superstar would be barred from participating in the 2016 Games after testing positive for meldonium in January. Sharapova, who competed in the 2012 Olympics, maintains that she didn't know the substance was banned. The appeals process is ongoing. She received support from Serena Williams, who said, "I think most people were happy she was upfront and very honest and showed a lot of courage to admit to what she had done and what she had neglected to look at in terms of the list at the end of the year."

Sochi Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Brazil ended its slave trade in 1888, but the long-term effects have managed to impact the 2016 Rio de Janiero Games. Developers are accused of constructing Olympic Park right on top of a mass grave of countless African slaves. One descendant told reporters, "I regard the ground as sacred because it is where my ancestors were buried." The Rio city government denies any wrongdoing.

Lady Gaga

Joshua Blanchard/Getty Images

The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics are shrouded in controversy! Many celebrity voices have joined the fight against Russian President Vladimir Putin's radical homophobic legislation passed in 2013 and are boycotting the Winter Games, including Lady Gaga who said, "I don't think that we should be going to the Olympics at all," adding "I mean, I would never take anything away from [the athlete's] hard work, I just think it is absolutely wrong for so many countries to send money and economy in the way of a country that doesn't support gays."

Nancy Kerrigan, Tonya Harding, 90s Scandals

Mike Powell/Getty Images; Chris Cole/Allsport

This infamous figure-skating soap opera of the 1994 Olympics had it all: arch rivals, record Nielsen ratings, even an FBI probe. And to think, it all started with a simple knee-clubbing

Jamie Sale, David Pelletier


Again with the figure skating… After Jamie Sale and David Pelletier's winning pairs routine rated but a silver at the 2002 games, the judge representing France confessed she'd been ordered to place the Russian team first in a vote-trading scheme. Sale and Pelletier were belatedly named cowinners.

Soviet Union Basketball

Tony Duffy/Getty Images

The Munich Games were marred by tragedy when terrorists killed 11 Israeli athletes and coaches; they were marked by controversy when the United States lost—or got robbed, some say—to the Soviet Union's men's basketball team in the still-debated gold-medal game.

Jimmy Carter

Keystone/CNP/Getty Images

Countries had sat out the games before, but never had a superpower snubbed another superpower the way President Jimmy Carter did when, in protest of the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan, he pulled Team USA from the Moscow-hosted Olympics. Four years later, Team USSR returned the favor and led an Eastern Bloc blackout at the Los Angeles games.

Ben Johnson

Bob Thomas/Getty Images

Before baseball star Jose Canseco's tell-all autobiography, before U.S. Olympic hero Marion Jones' fall from grace, and basically before we came to expect such things, Canada's Ben Johnson stunned the world when he was outed as a juicer, and stripped of his gold medal for the men's 100-meter sprint at the 1988 games.

Roy Jones Jr.

Globe Photos/

Future A-list fighter Roy Jones Jr. suffered the biggest blow of his career at the Seoul games when the American lost—or got robbed, some say—to the hometown South Korean boxer in a gold-medal bout.  

Olympics in Pop Culture, Tommie Smith & John Carlos

Universal History Archive/Getty Images

At the 1968 Olympics, American track athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos, gold- and bronze-medal winners, respectively, for the men's 200-meter dash, brought the black-power movement to the world stage (and drew a suspension from the U.S. team) when they lowered their heads, and threw up gloved fists as the National Anthem played at their medal ceremony.

Awesome Olympians, Apolo Anton Ono


The short-track speedskating star won his first career gold medal in 2002 when his South Korean rival was disqualified—or robbed, some say—shortly after their race. Hate mail, much of it from South Korea, ensued.

Michael Phelps, Tony the Tiger

No, the scandal, involving a photo of the U.S. swimmer apparently inhaling from a marijuana pipe, didn't alter any official results. And, no, the scandal didn't cost Phelps any of his eight Beijing gold medals. But it reminded that, one, Olympic scandals can happen anywhere, anytime—even in a newspaper, six months after the games—and, two, Olympic scandals can totally ice your sweet deal with Kellogg's Frosted Flakes.

NEXT GALLERY: Awesome Olympians!

Russia, Opening Ceremony, 2014, Winter, Olympics

AP Photo/Mark Humphrey,

The International Olympic committee announced on Dec. 5, 2017 that Russia would be banned from the 2018 Winter Games after being found guilty of widespread doping of athletes. 

  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share

We and our partners use cookies on this site to improve our service, perform analytics, personalize advertising, measure advertising performance, and remember website preferences. By using the site, you consent to these cookies. For more information on cookies including how to manage your consent visit our Cookie Policy.