Russia Olympic Ban Isn’t A Sure Win For Anti-Dopers, Colorado Expert Says

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Photo: Russian Olympic Ban
Russian figure skater Adelina Sotnikova waves to spectators during the closing ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The entire Russian team has been banned from the next Winter Games.

The International Olympic Committee's recent decision to ban the Russian team from February's Winter Games is an historic first. But its real impact on "rampant" drug use in international athletics remains to be seen, according to a Coloradan who studies the worldwide sports scene.

On Tuesday, the IOC banned the Russian team from competing in the games that open Feb. 9 in PyeongChang, Korea. The ban cited widespread doping by athletes and elaborate schemes by their government to hide the cheating. But the IOC left room for athletes who can prove they're clean to compete, and it's likely as many as 100 will show up, according to Roger Pielke Jr., director of the Sports Governance Center at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Pielke tells Colorado Matters it's also unclear whether the Olympic crackdown will carry over to other sports, including the upcoming soccer World Cup. That event will be held in Russia and spearheaded by a Russian official who was banned from the Olympic movement for life for his role in the country's cover-up of athletes' drug use at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.