RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug. 4 (UPI) — The International Olympic Committee confirmed 118 athletes, or almost one third of the Russian team, will be banned from the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympic Games due to blood doping.
The IOC made the final approval on Thursday, giving a victory to the Russians, who will march 271 athletes through the opening ceremony on Friday, after having spent months at odds with the World Anti-Doping Agency over charges of a state-sponsored doping program.
Some in the international sports community had called for the entire Russian team to be banned as punishment.
The 271 is about half what the country sent to London in 2012 and gives them only the 11th largest team in Rio. The U.S. team is the largest with 556 athletes.
Appeals by some athletes are expected, even after the games begin.
International sport authorities had placed the bans on the athletes within their sport and the sports court upheld those decisions this week. The bans affected mostly the Russian track and field, rowing and weight lifting teams.
A major revamping of the Olympic’s anti-doping system will likely be the next issue the international sporting community will wrestle.
“For clean athletes, I think the situation in Rio is tough to watch,” said Travis Tygart, head of the United States Anti-Doping Agency. “It’s a mess, and Exhibit A of how truly incapable sport is of policing itself.”