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Russia barred from 2018 Winter Olympics as punishment for massive doping scandal

Russia's Olympic team will not be allowed to participate in the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea, the International Olympic Committee announced Tuesday. The decision — the first of its kind in Olympic history — follows revelations about Russia's massive state-backed doping program, which was uncovered at the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia.

Russia was allowed to participate in the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, although 119 athletes were barred as part of the doping conspiracy. "The world knows that hundreds of Olympic dreams have been stolen by the doping system in the country where I was born," said whistleblower Vitaly Stepanov, who worked for Russia's anti-doping agency.

Some Russian athletes may be allowed to participate in the 2018 Games, but "the country's government officials are forbidden to attend, its flag will not be displayed at the opening ceremony, and its anthem will not sound," The New York Times writes. "Any athletes from Russia who receive special dispensation to compete will do so as individuals wearing a neutral uniform, and the official record books will forever show that Russia won zero medals."