If you’ve been following along with this story, a punishment like this was expected. If you haven’t, basically Russia implemented a state sponsored doping program in order to have more success in the Games. Propaganda machine, basically. Straight up Drago style.
Russia avoided a complete blanket ban from the International Olympic Committee last summer and were able to compete in Rio, but they won’t be represented in Good Korea in a few months.
Russian athletes can still compete in the Olympiad, but they would have to compete as neutral athletes. They’d be given plain uniforms, they would not be able to compete for the Russian flag, and no Russian anthem would play if they were to win gold.
Basically, they’d be the Olympic equivalent of the Brotherhood Without Banners in Game of Thrones. They’d be off to fight the international White Walkers for
the Lord of Light Putin without the official representation of the Lord of Light Putin.
Personally, I don’t know how to feel.
On the one hand, no Russia means that no g’damn commies can steal our American shine. The USA has been awarded a point in Cold War II: Electric Boogaloo with this news. We don’t need a state mandated doping program to beat everybody’s asses in athletics! So what if Russia may or may not have fucked with our elections/the foundation of our political system? We can now say we’re better than them in a ton of winter sports. Curling? Check. Skiing? You bet. Hockey? Hell yeah, flashes of 1980!
But on the other hand, I’ll miss rooting against Russia. America needs someone to love as well as root against in things like the Olympics, and Russia is a perfect rival for us, especially in this day and age. Take the hockey game between us and them in 2014 for example. It was so fun to watch because it was thrilling to see us walk into their backyard and beat them at their own game. TJ Oshie became an American legend because of his shootout heroics against the Russians.
Short of USA-Canada in the gold medal game, we now can’t see anything that rivals the intensity and drama of that game in Sochi, and it was only a preliminary game. The 1980 Miracle on Ice is iconic not only because of the odds the Americans had to overcome, but also because of the hatred between the USA and the Soviet Union. We’re missing out on that rivalry, not just hockey but in all other sports, this February.
I’ll still enjoy the hell out of Pyeongchang 2018, but not having Russia in it is gonna feel weird.