Russia Wins Most Medals Since 2004 Olympics
By Sophia Mao
Since 2016, Russia has been banned from competing in all major sporting events because of the huge doping scandal. In short, the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) confirmed the widespread use of performance enhancing drugs and blood doping by Russian track and field athletes. Coaches, doctors, and state and sports officials were intentionally hiding and destroying the evidence.
At this year’s Olympics, the ROC surprisingly came home with 20 golds out of the 71 medals they earned. They finished fifth out of all the countries, just 2 golds less than Britain. Their performance was better than the 2008 and 2012 Olympics when they competed under the Russian flag.
Instead of the Russian flag, a white flag with Olympic rings and three flames is raised instead as Russian athletes stand on the podium. A Piano concert is played in replacement for what would’ve been their national anthem.
Although they performed extremely well this year, they could’ve gotten more gold medals if they were not restricted from some events. Sports like rhythmic gymnastics, may be more biased against the Russians. Track and field have been limited to 10 competitors at most for ROC, which limited their chances to win a gold medal.
High jumper Maria Lasitskene shares her thoughts about the whole situation, saying “What happened five years ago probably should have happened. It shattered many careers, including mine, but probably I had to stand strong so that this [gold medal] would now hang around my neck.”
Today, Russians in the Olympics still compete as the Russian Olympic Committee until the ban ends in December of 2022. The Winter Olympics in Beijing 2022 will be the last Olympics they will compete in as the ROC.