Cameron Spencer/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

Can Russian Athletes Compete After The Olympics Ban? Only On One Condition

Ad failed to load

The looming Winter Olympics may look slightly different this year. On Tuesday, Dec. 5, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that Russia is barred from the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, following an extensive investigation into Russian doping at the 2014 winter games in Sochi. The move raises the question: can Russian athletes compete in the 2018 Winter Olympics? Yes, under one very important condition: athletes must be clean.

According to The New York Times, the IOC is taking the Russian doping scandal very seriously — but they still want clean Russian athletes to be able to compete. The Times reports that athletes with "histories of rigorous drug testing" may be allowed to compete in neutral uniforms.

But even if Russian athletes are given the go-ahead by Olympic officials, they cannot compete under their flag. Instead, athletes will wear neutral uniforms and compete under the Olympic flag, and if athletes win any medals, "the official record books will forever show that Russia won zero medals."

Ad failed to load

The IOC's announcement stipulates that accepted athletes will compete under the name "Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR)."

Further, government officials may not attend. The Russian flag will not be flown at the event, and their national anthem will not be played. Additionally, the Russian Olympic Committee has been fined $15 million.

In a press conference announcing the ban — a punishment the likes of which the IOC has never before doled out — IOC Inquiry Commissioner Samuel Schmid — who was in charge of investigating Russian doping in the 2014 games — said, "We have never seen such manipulation and cheating" before, and Russia's actions have caused "unprecedented damage to Olympism and sport."

Ad failed to load

But the President of the IOC, Thomas Bach, said at the Dec. 5 press conference that he feels "very sorry for all the clean athletes" who have suffered due to Russia's doping program. Hence the ability to apply as a neutral athlete.

The severe punishments levied by the IOC are in response to a years-long investigation into an unprecedented, state-sponsored Russian doping program. The Schmid Report has "confirmed the systematic manipulation of the anti-doping rules and systems in Russia ... during the Olympics Winter Games Sochi 2014."

Ad failed to load

This report is the conclusion of accusations that Russia has systematically used illegal means to improve their athletes' performances long before the Sochi games, including a 2015 report alleging that the country "sabotaged" the 2012 games in London with its state-sponsored doping program.

The Schmid Report specifically focuses on the disturbing lengths to which Russia went to tamper with Olympic drug testing for the 2014 Sochi games.

Per the Times, IOC President Bach "said he was perturbed not only by Russia’s widespread cheating but by how it had been accomplished: by corrupting the Olympic laboratory that handled drug testing at the Games, and on orders from Russia’s own Olympic officials."

Ad failed to load

In an overnight operation, a team put together by the Russian sports ministry "tampered with more than 100 urine samples to conceal evidence of top athletes’ steroid use throughout the course of competition." The "dark-of-night operation," so-called by the Times, involved some of Russia's most prominent athletes, some of whom have since had their medals vacated.

In response, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova released a statement via Facebook. In the statement (which was quoted in English by Buzzfeed), Zakharova said,

Ad failed to load
They can’t bring us down in any way. Not by world war, not by the fall of the Soviet Union, not by sanctions ... Is it painful? Very. We’re with our athletes heart and soul right now. Will we survive? Yes.

Some Russian athletes and government officials, per Newsweek, had previously threatened to boycott the games if any athletes were forced to compete as neutrals, though that doesn't seem to be much of a threat anymore. According to Reuters, Russia will appeal the IOC's decision.

Ad failed to load

Must Reads

The Travel Accessory You Need This Summer, According To Your Zodiac Sign

Leaving behind your hometown and exploring the great beyond is one of the most important things you'll ever do in your lifetime. It breaks the monotony of your daily routine, pushes you out of your comfort zone, and forces you to appreciate a world c…
By Roya Backlund

6 Commitment-Free Ways To Change Up Your Look After A Breakup, If You Feel Like It

I'm married and not breaking up (I just had to clarify before I get a call from my husband wondering what's going on). However, if for some reason we ever did separate (again, not happening!), I've imagined I'd have this Eat, Pray, Love moment where …
By Stephanie Montes

Here's Everything That's Leaving Netflix In June

Summer is here, and with it comes plenty of opportunity to binge watch more movies and TV shows that we never knew we needed in our lives. May has passed by in a blink of an eye, so I definitely need to catch up on what Netflix is getting rid of afte…
By Kristen Perrone

Cherry Print Is One Of Summer's Biggest Fashion Trends & It's So Much Sweeter Than Florals

If there's one thing that I've had my eye on this summer it's a cool, flirty cherry-print dress. Along with versatile black tops and blue denim, the color red has become a staple in my wardrobe this year and anytime I can infuse it into my daily look…
By Ariana Marsh

13 Must-Have Experiences You Should Buy In Your 20s, Instead Of A New Couch

Life is one big experience. When you hit your 20s, though, you start getting pulled in the direction of your responsibilities. It isn't totally a bad thing, but you don't want to get so wrapped into adulting that you forget life's zest. Amazing exper…
By Jasmine Vaughn-Hall

I Tried Kim Kardashian's Weird Beauty Obsession & I Can't Stop Taking Selfies

You've been there before: You're scrolling through your Instagram feed when you see your favorite celeb post about their favorite new product — a face serum, vitamins that will make your skin brighter, or a specialty food service. You can't help but …
By Stephanie Montes

Where You Should Vacation This Summer, According To Your Zodiac Sign

Summer is so much more than just sweating in 90 degree weather and enjoying a long, lazy break from school (if you're lucky enough to still be in school). It's a time for making exciting new plans, falling madly and hopelessly in love, opening your m…
By Roya Backlund

Wander or Bust: The Amalfi Coast May Just Be The Most Beautiful Thing You'll Ever See

Wander or Bust is an Elite Daily travel series that follows young women all over the globe to record their journeys as they experience the thrill of the far-flung and unknown. They'll track their budgets, where they stay, where they eat and drink, a…
By Kaylin Pound

6 Brutally Honest Phases Of Life After A Breakup, Because You Will Survive 

If you've ever been through a bad breakup, you know that the struggle is real. For the weeks (or possibly months, if it was a really bad one) that follow, life can be rough, but there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Don't believe me? Just l…
By Rachel Shatto

Here's How You Can Find Out What Your Aura Color Is

Do you remember that movie Almost Famous? More specifically, the scene where William is trying to have a phone call with his mom, but a clairvoyant Band-Aid keeps shouting "Your aura is purple!" in his face? Well, that was the first time I had ever h…
By Roya Backlund

9 Women In Their 20s Reflect On The Advice They Wish They Had At Graduation

Graduating college can feel seriously scary. You've spent your entire life in school, working and preparing for the moment you enter the real world, but what happens when you get there? What if things don't go totally according to plan? You may have …
By Brittney Morgan

3 Early Signs You Are Going To Have Undeniable Chemistry With Your Crush

I don't know if there's anything better than the excitement of having a new crush — especially when that feeling's reciprocated. The butterflies that rush through your stomach as soon as they enter a room. The electricity that zips through your veins…
By Genevieve Wheeler

Emoji Pool Floats Are Here To Match Every Mood You’re In This Summer

Searching for the perfect poolside accessory to lounge around in this summer? This year’s hottest warm weather water trend isn’t a big floppy hat or designer sunglasses — it’s an emoji pool float. That’s right: Your favorite little digital expression…
By Rachel Murphy

Here's How Your Mood & Your Favorite Music Are Secretly Connected, According To Science

If you're someone who's likely to be found with ear buds in her ears at all times, you might not realize just how often you listen to music, or the ways in which it's really affecting you. From your morning commute to the tunes you blast while you co…
By Caroline Burke

This Is How Long It Takes For A Partner To Really Trust You, According To Experts

Trust is easily one of the most important parts of a healthy relationship, but typically, it's not something that's fully there from the start because it takes some time to build. How long it takes for a partner to trust you is a question that doesn'…
By Tayi Sanusi

7 Things You Forgot To Thank Your High School Friends For & Should ASAP

Friends are a dime a dozen, but a solid, genuine group of girlfriends can be difficult to come by. When you find your tribe, you need to stick with them until the end. For some lucky people, your high school friends have been your besties since day o…
By Rachel Chapman

These 3 Zodiac Signs Will Have The Best Week, So Bask In The Glory

It's officially the second week of May, and the warmth of spring has finally arrived. The birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and the bright weather is allowing everyone to finally break out their favorite pair of shorts. If you think the gorgeou…
By Roya Backlund

7 Men Reveal What Attracted Them To Their Last Crush & They'll Make You Swoon

He reminded me of Nate Archibald from Gossip Girl. That's legitimately what I found appealing about my most recent crush. Sorry, but it doesn't get any deeper than that. In other instances though, when I'm not trying to live out my lustful, adolescen…
By Sydnee Lyons

A Relationship Expert Reveals His Long-Distance Relationship Survival Guide

"Long-distance relationships are extremely relaxing and easy to navigate," said no one in a long-distance relationship ever. Whether you are bicoastal babes or a quick two-hour train ride apart, distance makes the heart grow fonder, but it also makes…
By Kimmy Foskett