Everyone is watching the Rio Olympics, but one country's team has already lost their games.
Russian athletes have officially been banned from competing in the upcoming 2016 Paralympics — set to follow the Olympic games just days later in Rio — after a state-sponsored doping program operated by the country.
On Sunday, the International Paralympic Committee put a blanket ban on Russia after an investigation claimed the country's sports ministry "directed, controlled and oversaw" manipulation of urine samples provided by its athletes.
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This is in great contrast to the International Olympic Committee's earlier decision to allow individual sports to decide whether Russians could compete in the Olympic games.
IPC President Philip Craven directly condemned the Russian state's involvement for prioritizing "medals over morals." He said:
"Tragically this situation is not about athletes cheating a system, but about a state-run system that is cheating the athletes. The doping culture that is polluting Russian sport stems from the Russian government and has now been uncovered in not one, but two independent reports commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency."
Last month's investigation — commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency — exposed Russia's years of doping deception, including the 2014 Paralympics in Sochi.
After finishing second in medal standings at the 2012 London Paralympics, Russia had 267 athlete slots for Rio in 18 sports — which will now only be filled if the country's appeal goes through.
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But based on Craven's disgust over the country's "thirst for glory at all costs," it doesn't seem likely that the appeal will be successful. He continued:
"I believe the Russian government has catastrophically failed its Para athletes. Their medals over morals mentality disgusts me. The complete corruption of the anti-doping system is contrary to the rules and strikes at the very heart of the spirit of Paralympic sport. It shows a blatant disregard for the health and well-being of athletes and, quite simply, has no place in Paralympic sport. Their thirst for glory at all costs has severely damaged the integrity and image of all sport."
Do YOU think Russia deserved a blanket ban from the 2016 Paralympics??
[Image via Instagram.]
Tags: controversy, drugs, international paralympics committee, investigation, legal matters, olympics, paralympics, philip craven, russia, sad sad, world anti-doping agency