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

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

5 Trends From The '90s Are Making A Serious Comeback, So Somebody Page Cher Horowitz

I was born in the '90s and my childhood was one Caboodles train case packed with scrunchies and butterfly clips after another. If you could believe it, early '90s fashion is already considered vintage (I officially feel old AF) and according to sprin…
By Stephanie Montes

This New Snapchat Feature Is Going To Make Your Stories Look Even Better

Giphy is officially taking over social media, and I'm not upset about it. After invading Instagram stories with funny animated stickers, the company partnered with Snapchat — and now, we're finally able to fill our Snaps with hilarious GIFs. In other…
By Amanda Fama

Your Weekly Horoscope Is Here & Luckily, It's All Good Things

Pat yourself on the back because you survived not only one but two major eclipses. The last few weeks have been one obstacle after another but you made it. You dealt with the pain, held it together, and prevailed. Now, your February 19, 2018 weekly h…
By Roya Backlund

6 Subtle Red Flags That Could Mean You’re Sleeping Way Too Much

Have you ever woken up after an unusually long night of sleep and felt, well, kind of awful? Whether you roll out of bed feeling super dehydrated, nursing a throbbing a headache, or you simply feel stiff as a board, there are reasons why your body mi…
By Annakeara Stinson

These 6 Workouts Can Be Done Right On Your Couch, & Yes, They Do Count As Exercise

Ever have that feeling when you're watching the Olympics like you should be working out, or at least stretching, but in reality you're just laying around eating chips? Yeah, me neither. But if you do ever feel that pull to work out when you're just l…
By Annakeara Stinson

10 Things You Should Say To Your Partner Every Day To Keep The Love Alive

When it coms to love, falling into it is a lot easier than maintaining it. There’s a reason, after all, that it's called "falling" in love, because it's mostly out of your control — the heart just takes over. Because those emotions come so easily and…
By Rachel Shatto

Science Says These 8 Foods Can Help You Live Longer, So Eat Up

If you're looking to live forever, or at least for an appropriately long amount of time, then the best way to get started on your journey toward immortality is to think about what you're putting into your body for fuel. Think of your diet as the batt…
By Caroline Burke

I Live In London & When Guys Find Out I'm American, They Only See Me As A Fling

I first entered the world of dating apps during a semester abroad in London, and I had zero idea what I was getting myself into. I was 21, had only ever dated boys I'd met through work, school, or mutual friends, and my appreciation for romantic come…
By Genevieve Wheeler

Here's Exactly How You'll Fall In Love, Based On Your Astrological Sign

One of my favorite things about learning about my zodiac sign and others' is learning patterns about my behavior that I can acknowledge and use to my advantage. As a Scorpio sun sign, I know I'm typically described as mysterious, drawn to loyal peopl…
By Elana Rubin

These 8 Red Flags Might Mean You're Pushing Yourself Too Hard In Your Workouts

If you live by the motto "no pain, no gain," or you frequently exclaim that your HIIT circuits "hurt so good," you're probably the type of person who challenges yourself to the max during your workouts. And while this isn't necessarily a bad thing, i…
By Georgina Berbari

I Tried Vegan "Spacepaste" & It Looks Like Straight-Up LED Lights On Your Face

As you might have noticed, 2018 is the year for glitter. So many brands have been releasing shining, shimmering formulations like they're going out of style. We're not even halfway through February, and Lemonhead LA has already launched the best glit…
By Kim Carpluk

These "Awkward" Proposal Stories Show There's No One Perfect Way To Get Engaged

There are a few adjectives people use to describe proposal stories that tend to be a bit more common than the rest. You know what I mean. How many times have you heard someone describe their marriage proposal as "magical" or "romantic" or — my person…
By Candice Jalili

This $20 Toy Simulates Pimple Popping, So You Can Save Your Face (But Still Lose Your Dignity)

As a self-proclaimed popaholic, I am not ashamed to admit that I love watching pimple popping and blackhead extraction videos. Call me gross, but I find it immensely therapeutic and satisfying. To all of my fellow weirdos, we’ve been blessed with a n…
By Ariana Marsh

Everyone Is So Thirsty Over This “Photo” Of Obama With Facial Hair

It's been a hot minute since President Barack Obama left the Oval office (though it feels like ages), and a lot of us miss him dearly. After leaving the White House, the 44th president remained out of the public eye for a little while, decompressing …
By Daniella Bondar

Meghan Markle Uses This $13 Natural Wonder To Grow Her Eyebrows Back & You Can Too

Meghan Markle is the world's new go-to celebrity for all things fashion and beauty — she's marrying a prince after all, so she must have some tricks up her sleeve. Meghan Markle's beauty routine is just as intricate as mine, because that's how real s…
By Alison Turka

7 Foolproof Things To Do Every Day If You're Tired Of Being Lazy AF

Being lazy can be oh-so-lovely. Until you start letting life pass you by, and not living to your full potential, then suddenly, it's not so good anymore. Don't get me wrong, I love my weekends when I can stay snuggled up in bed just a bit longer. Hit…
By Marisa Casciano

This Is How Long Most People Wait To Say "I Love You," Science Says

If I had to choose one word to describe saying "I love you" to your partner for the first time, I'd have to go with... hmm, exciting? Nope. Thrilling? Hardly. Terrifying? YES. Exactly. Saying "I love you" for the first time is terrifying. What makes …
By Candice Jalili

6 Reasons To Travel Abroad With Your Boyfriend Or Girlfriend In Your 20s

Traveling can be many things: hectic, expensive, and definitely stressful. But with the right people or person beside you, all those troubles kind of just melt away. That's why there are some solid reasons to travel abroad with your boyfriend or girl…
By Alani Vargas