In news that Donald Trump will probably have something to say about—assuming it’s covered on Fox And Friends, that is—The New York Times reports that the international Olympic Committee has barred Russia from competing in next year’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. That’s part of a series of penalties the paper says is “without precedent in Olympics history”: The country’s flag will not be flown at the opening ceremonies, its anthem will not play, and its government officials will not be allowed to attend the games. (Deputy prime minister Vitaly Mutko has been banned for life.) Select Russian athletes may be allowed to compete in the games in “neutral uniforms,” but if they win a medal, it won’t be entered into the record books as a Russian win.
This comes after revelations of absurdly prevalent and intricate doping schemes among Russian Olympians, which were so widespread that Russian doctors drilled a “mouse hole” into the wall of their ironically named Anti-Doping Center where they could stash clean urine samples. (A documentary about the phenomenon, Icarus, was released earlier this year and is currently on Netflix.) Russia’s urine-sample tampering at the 2014 Sochi Olympics directly led to this year’s ban, according to IOC president Thomas Bach. More than two dozen Russian wins at Sochi have also been rescinded in light of the doping allegations, and a “special ceremony” will be held at the games in Pyeongchang to reassign medals to their new, retroactive winners.
Meanwhile, Putin says this is all just an example of anti-Russia bias, and is threatening to boycott the Olympic games that won’t have him anyway. There’s no official plan in place for that at the moment, though, as the news broke late in the evening in Moscow.