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Russia’s Ban from the 2018 Winter Olympics Shares Similarities to Olympic Doping Scandals of the 1970s


Last week, Olympic officials announced that Russia will be banned from the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The announcement came after a lengthy investigation into Russia’s state-sponsored doping program.

The Olympic committee announced that though Russia’s flag will not be flown at the opening ceremonies, athletes from the country who undergo extensive drug testing and monitoring may be allowed to compete in a neutral uniform.

While Russian athletes were reported to have had multiple doping violations in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, the most outstanding instance of the state-backed program was when a team of drug experts and operatives tampered with and altered nearly 100 urine samples from Russian athletes. As a result, several athletes from the Sochi games have been retroactively disqualified, and a few have had their medals rescinded.

Read more from The New York Times.

This most recent Olympic doping scandal is reminiscent of East Germany’s state-backed doping program in the 1970s and 1980s, in which male and female athletes were administered experimental and ultimately life-threatening hormones in order to win Olympic gold.

Secrets of the Dead: Doping for Gold shines a light on the East German doping program and highlights its devastating effects on the athletes who were forced to participate.

Watch the full episode here: