Olympic leaders face potentially important decision on doping penalties

IOC President Thomas Bach speaks at a news conference in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Dec. 8.
(Laurent Gillieron / Associated Press)
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The International Olympic Committee announced Thursday that it has approved Los Angeles, Paris and Budapest to continue forward in the bidding process for the 2024 Summer Games.

No surprise there — not for an organization desperate to find cities that will host its mega-sporting event.

The tougher decision facing the IOC might come Friday when an independent panel created by the World Anti-Doping Agency issues another in its series of reports on alleged systemic cheating in Russia.


Previous reports have resulted in the entire Russian track program being banned from international competition and much of the Russian team being barred from the recent 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Now, IOC President Thomas Bach wants stringent penalties for any athletes and officials found to have participated in widespread, organized doping.

That would include allegations of urine samples being manipulated inside a Russian laboratory entrusted with helping to catch cheaters.

Bach wants any such “aggravated circumstances” to be answered with a lifetime ban, saying: “I would not like to see this person again at any Olympic Games in any function.”

Richard McLaren, appointed as an independent investigator by WADA earlier this year, is expected to delve further into allegations involving the Sochi, Russia, lab.

In regards to bidding, Bach said his organization will continue to review the process for competing cities, but gave no details on possible changes.


“We have to think long-term,” he said.

The current cycle has entered its third phase, with the candidates due to make submissions in February. IOC officials will visit each city for an evaluation shortly thereafter.

The IOC is scheduled to select a host in September.

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