The Games of the XXXI Olympiad open tonight in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. As you watch the parade of nations, you may notice Russia’s contingent of Olympians is noticeably smaller. That’s because well over 100 Russian athletes have been banned from competing in the Olympics for their use of performance-enhancing drugs.
In December 2014, the World Anti-Doping Agency began looking into allegations that Russia was running a state sanctioned doping operation for its Olympic athletes. The anti-doping agency’s investigations found that Russia had indeed operated a state-sponsored doping operation for athletes competing at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and the 2014 Winter Olympics that Russia hosted in Sochi.

One of the investigative reports, released on July 18, stated that Russia’s “Ministry of Sport directed, controlled, and oversaw the manipulation of athlete’s analytical results or sample swapping … ” The report also cites the active engagement of the Centre of Sports Preparation in Russia and the Russian Federal Security Service.
The head of the International Olympic Committee described Russia’s actions as a “shocking and unprecedented attack” on the integrity of the sport and on the Olympic games.