Russia will learn Thursday if it can participate in Tokyo Olympics

A large depiction of the Olympic rings is transported on a barge on Dec. 1 in Tokyo Bay.
A large depiction of the Olympic rings is transported on a barge in Tokyo Bay on Dec. 1.
(Eugene Hoshiko / Associated Press)

Russia will learn its Olympic fate on Thursday when an international court rules on whether the nation should be kept out of the upcoming Summer Games in Tokyo.

The Russians are serving a four-year ban handed down in late 2019, the result of a long-running scandal that has seen athletes, coaches and officials caught in an orchestrated doping scheme.

Now, with the country filing an appeal, the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland will decide if the penalty should be upheld.


As it stands, the Russian flag and anthem are prohibited at sporting events internationally. Individual athletes may compete under neutral status if they can persuade anti-doping authorities they have not cheated.

The USOPC says U.S. athletes can raise a fist or kneel in protest on the medals stand. The International Olympic Committee has a rule against demonstrations.

Dec. 10, 2020

The scandal dates back to allegations from 2014. Russia was allowed to participate on a limited bases at the 2016 Summer Olympics but was banned as a nation from the 2018 Winter Games, where some of its athletes appeared in unmarked uniforms and were designated only as “Olympic athletes from Russia.”

The current sanction, which extends as far as the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing, has been highly controversial. Russian officials have characterized themselves as victims of prosecutorial “hysteria”; the International Olympic Committee favors the ban but others want even more severe action.