File Photo. Photograph:( Reuters )
Russian athletes are not representing Russia while competing at the Games, they are, however, contesting under the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) flag.
Tokyo Olympics 2020, that's actually happening in 2021, will wrap up with too many bittersweet memories — that's for sure. From record-shattering performances to unprecedented obstacles, the Tokyo Games has to offer a lot to write in history books. Amid outrageous heatwaves, raging Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, people might have forgotten that Russia was banned over the infamous doping scandal.
If banned, then who are these 'Russian players' competing at the Games and winning medals? It is imperative to note that Russia was banned from Tokyo 2020 after being found guilty of state-sponsored doping and its cover-ups after The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) handed Russia a four-year ban from top sporting events in 2019. However, those sanctions were relaxed to some extent by a sports arbitration court and were reduced to two years and the athletes who weren't involved in the scandal were able to compete in Olympic competition.
Russian athletes are not representing Russia while competing at the Games, they are, however, contesting under the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) flag and represent the committee. They are not allowed to compete under their own flag, their national anthem won't play after they win.
The scandal was subsided due to other pressing issues; however, it came out of the 'Pool' and took centerstage after US swimmer Ryan Murphy said his 200m backstroke final was "probably not clean" post losing to Evgeny Rylov, competing as part of the ROC. Murphy won gold in the 100 and 200 Rio finals, but Rylov won both titles in Tokyo.
"I've got 15 thoughts, 13 of them would get me into a lot of trouble," said Murphy when asked by a reporter if he had any doping concerns about his races.
Does the ban really stand in the broader scenario?
The loophole allowed 330 athletes at these Games, also note the British team came with 375 athletes. More than 300 athletes appeared at the Games, they have been announced as Russian, they are wearing their flag colours — the doping ban appears to be a mockery of punishment and looks like nothing ever happened that was once regarded as a stain on Olympics.
The system of ROC's participation might look politically correct, but Murphy's questions will echo globally for a very long time as and when Russia will participate in such games.