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Russian Track and Field Athletes Banned From Rio Olympics Over Steroid Scandal

The unprecedented decision stems from a report that Russia used a state-sponsored doping program for the 2012 and 2014 Olympic Games.

Russia's track and field team will be banned from competing in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio following allegations of extensive doping at previous Olympics, the International Association of Athletics Federations announced Friday.

Russia "had not done enough to restore global confidence in the integrity of its athletes," the I.A.A.F. said in its ruling.

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The decision comes after the World Anti-Doping Agency published a report in 2015 detailing an extensive Russian doping program involving bribes, false identities, and urine sample swaps to mask steroid use by its athletes. The report also revealed that Russian secret service agents “intimidated” drug lab workers to cover up positive tests.

Track and field athletes from Russia have been barred from competing since the publication of that report.

There is a chance that the decision by the I.A.A.F. could be amended, as the International Olympic Committee has “ultimate authority” over the Olympics, but the IOC has "historically deferred" to the governing body of the sport in the past, according to The New York Times.

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The doping program was revealed to the Times by former Russian anti-doping lab director Grigory Rodchenkov in May. The whistleblower described the sophistication of the doping program, saying that Russian athletes used anabolic steroids and submitted “bogus” urine samples while preparing for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

“If you’re fighting doping, Russia should be withdrawn from the Olympics,” Dr. Rodchenkov said. “Doping is everywhere. Many people in Russia don’t want to tell the truth. Lies and fear are absolute.”

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