Russia limited to 10 ‘neutral’ track athletes at 2020 Summer Olympics

Russia’s track team will be allowed to send no more than 10 athletes — competing as “neutrals” — to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as part of new sanctions issued Thursday by the sport’s international federation.

World Athletics also levied a $10-million fine against the Russian track federation after officials from that country acknowledged that previous leaders had submitted falsified documents as an alibi for an athlete who missed a doping test.

“Clearly the previous measures were not enough to change the culture in Russian athletics,” World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said. “We hope this further measure will be sufficient to provoke real change.”

Russia has been banned as a nation from the upcoming Summer Games and other international events in response to a long-running scandal that has seen athletes, coaches and officials caught in an orchestrated doping scheme.


Stories examining the impact the spread of the coronavirus has had on the NBA, NHL, MLB, the NCAA tournament and the rest of the sports world.

Though the country of Russia, its flag and its anthem are barred, the World Anti-Doping Agency ruled that individual athletes could compete as “neutrals” if they could persuade authorities that they had not cheated.

Twenty-nine such competitors were at the track world championships last year.

In addition to setting a limit of 10 at the Olympics, international track officials have demanded $5 million of the fine by July 1. The remainder must be paid if, at any time over the next two years, the Russian track federation commits further rules violations.


“The decision to suspend half the $10-million fine for a period of two years is predicated on the cultural and behavioral change we want to see across all structures in athletics in Russia,” Coe said.

World Athletics also approved a new set of criteria by which the Russians might eventually gain reinstatement.