By Angelica Niedermeyer, Features Editor and Staff Writer
Has a country been banned from the Olympics? If so, why? Countries like Kuwait, India, Germany, and Japan have all been banned because of war and other conflicts in previous Olympic Games. Adding to this list, this past December, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) banned Russia from the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. Russia was prohibited from attending as a result of its involvement with athletic advancement drugs.
“The country’s officials are forbidden to attend, its flag will not be displayed at the opening ceremony and its anthem will not sound,” reported The New York Times .
Countries like Russia, however, should not be banned, as this punishment is too harsh for the crime. It takes a lot to prepare for the Olympic; the best of the best athletes of all sports who dream of competing for their country, many for most of their lives, are selected. Not to mention that the Olympics employs many people like marketing officials, project coordinators, journalists, cooks, security guards, cleaners, and of course the athletes. Russia is a large country with a population of 144.3 million people, so that means many jobs were lost because Russia didn’t attend.
People should be able to represent their country, both for their home and themselves. In the case of Russia, individual athletes were still able to compete in the 2018 Winter Olympics, just not under their country’s flag. Though this allowed them to participate, it was not the same prideful experience. Coming from a country that is banned probably is shameful enough, then add the stress of the Olympics. Furthermore, with further drug testing, problems like doping can be solved.
Some people, like sophomore Hope Caucino, believe that if Russia takes a stand against doping, they should be allowed to enter back in.
“In order for Russia to be allowed back into the Olympics, they need to work together as a country to pledge allegiance to not doping for the Olympics in order for us to maintain a globally equal atmosphere in the Olympics,” said Caucino.
Overall, global equality should be at all the Olympics so that the games are fair and do not create more conflict among countries. By excluding countries from the Olympics, banned countries may feel slighted by the rest of the world, a sentiment that is contrary to the feelings of peace and unity that the Olympic Games should engender. So doping doesn’t occur again, While Russia must promise to rehabilitate its unfair practices in order to be invited back to the Games, the IOC should refrain from punishing minor offenses in ways that create a hostile environment. Universally, we should move on and commence with a blank slate for the next Olympic games so as to promote what the Olympics are really about: international unity and friendly competition.