Five Ring Fraud

Document Type

Letter to the Editor

Journal Title

U.S. News & World Report

Publication Date



On Monday, the World Anti-Doping Agency released an independent report it commissioned to investigate allegations of widespread, state-sponsored doping in Russian sport. The report, prepared by Canadian sports law expert Richard McLaren, concluded "beyond a reasonable doubt" that the Russian government orchestrated an extensive program of athlete doping and cover-ups in at least 30 sports. The agency and the leaders of several national anti-doping organizations, including Travis Tygart of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, have called on the International Olympic Committee to ban all Russian athletes from the upcoming Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.

While the IOC has banned nations from participating in the Olympic Games for political reasons, such as with South Africa due to apartheid, no nation has been banned for reasons relating to sport. Yet such a ban on Russia would seem consistent with the Olympic Charter, which states that among the fundamental values of Olympism are "respect for fundamental ethical principles." These principles clearly were absent from Russia's understanding of the Olympic values, as the McLaren report documented its "Disappearing Positive Methodology" – the way in which officials manipulated athlete samples to ensure they beat drug tests. The IOC is set to decide whether to ban Russia from the Rio Olympics in the coming days. In the meantime, the IOC has imposed sanctions, including ordering a full investigation of all Russian athletes who participated in the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014 and a ban on all Russian sports ministry officials from the Rio Games.