In response to evidence of the use of performance-enhancing drugs by their national team, the Russian national anthem will not be played, nor its flag flown at future Olympic events.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), a foundation initiated by the International Olympic Committee, is banning Russia’s flag and national anthem from the Olympics as well as other sporting events over a major doping scandal.

In a unanimous decision this week, the executive committee said they wished to protect the rights of athletes who were not involved in the scandal, but had to hold the country responsible.

Initial allegations of doping came four years ago, and WADA investigators discovered that the Russian Anti-Doping Agency tampered with drug testing data earlier this year.

Russian athletes may still be able to compete, as neutral, or non-affiliated athletes, if they can prove they are drug-free.

“Well, it means that Russian athletes, if they want to compete in the Olympics or in the Paralympics or the various major events that are listed within this reclamation, they’re going to have to prove that they had nothing to do with noncompliance,” explained James Fitzgerald, a spokesman for the World Anti-Doping Agency.

The Russian Anti-Doping Agency has not yet confirmed whether they will appeal the decision.

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