The International Olympic Committee on Tuesday banned the Russian Olympic Committee from the 2018 Pyeongchang Games "with immediate effect" after a lengthy investigation exposed a "systematic manipulation of the anti-doping rules and system."
Here is some of the global reaction to the dramatic ruling, from anti-doping officials to athletes. Comments were made to ESPN or via an official statement, unless otherwise noted:
Thomas Bach, International Olympic Committee president
This was an unprecedented attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games and sport. The IOC EB [executive board], after following due process, has issued proportional sanctions for this systemic manipulation while protecting the clean athletes. This should draw a line under this damaging episode and serve as a catalyst for a more effective anti-doping system led by WADA [World Anti-Doping Agency].
As an athlete myself, I feel very sorry for all the clean athletes from all NOCs [national Olympic committees] who are suffering from this manipulation. Working with the IOC Athletes' Commission, we will now look for opportunities to make up for the moments they have missed on the finish line or on the podium.
Sir Craig Reedie, World Anti-Doping Agency president
"WADA believes that the IOC has taken an informed decision to sanction Russia for its involvement in institutionalized manipulation of the doping control process before, during and after the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games. The Agency also welcomes the decision to establish a panel that will determine criteria for the inclusion of Russian athletes under a neutral flag.
"It must be proven that these athletes have not been implicated in the institutionalized scheme and have been tested as overseen by the panel. We are eager to collaborate with other stakeholders in this regard."
Travis Tygart, U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO
"I think clean athletes found a significant victory in the decision and that the IOC finally listened to their voice. It ought to be a message to other states that try to corrupt the Olympic Games, but it also should encourage athletes to speak up, to use their voice for the right to fair play and be protected. ... That's where all the work now lies, in insuring that if there are truly any clean athletes who weren't tainted by this system that that narrow category are those only ones that end up competing. And it's a complicated process and there's not a whole lot of time to determine it. But instead of giving it to the [international federations], they gave it to the commission. While it could be more distant from sport, it at least has the mandate and expertise to handle it more efficiently and effectively than it was prior to [the 2016 Rio Games]."
Jim Walden, Grigory Rodchenkov's New York based lawyer
Walden represents Rodchenkov, the former Moscow lab director who designed the doping and test evasion strategy for Russia's Olympic athletes under an umbrella "Sochi Plan." Rodchenkov became a main whistleblower in the investigation.
"My hope is that the situation improves from here, but the Kremlin has proved to be a very determined and difficult adversary for Grigory. So, I think the future ahead is hard to chart, but for sure, without any doubt in my mind, he knows that he's going to be looking over this shoulder for the rest of his life."
Scott Blackmun, CEO of the United States Olympic Committee
"The IOC took a strong and principled decision. There were no perfect options, but this decision will clearly make it less likely that this ever happens again. Now it is time to look ahead to Pyeongchang."
Richard Pound, veteran IOC member and former WADA president
"At least we did the right thing, although it took far too long. [Bach] probably realized that there was no alternative but to do this. They may take all their marbles and go home, and my guess is this is an inconvenient time for them to be dealing with this, with a presidential election coming up and a badly wounded World Cup in the offing.
"It's certainly a powerful message to Russia, that even the big guys have to follow the rules, but it's also a powerful message to everybody watching, that, holy smokes, if they're willing to do this to Russia, one of the big three, maybe I should get my house in order, or maybe they'll come down on me in a nanosecond rather than a year and a half."
Vitaly Mutko, Russia's deputy prime minister for sport, was banned from the Olympics for life as part of the IOC's ruling. He remains in charge of Russia's World Cup efforts (the country hosts the event next year) despite being implicated in the doping scandal. FIFA's statement was released Tuesday:
"This decision has no impact on the preparations for the 2018 FIFA World Cup as we continue to work to deliver the best possible event. As has already been communicated, when it comes to anti-doping measures, FIFA takes its responsibility very seriously and is investigating the allegations made in the "McLaren Report." In this process, FIFA is working in close collaboration with WADA and has been in contact with Prof. McLaren.
"Should there be enough evidence to demonstrate the violation of any anti-doping rules by any athlete, FIFA would impose the appropriate sanction. On the other hand, it should be stressed that sanctions cannot be imposed based on mere suspicion or limited facts. ... At the same time, FIFA continues to take every measure at its competitions to ensure football remains free from doping."
Jack Robertson, former WADA chief investigator and retired DEA special agent
"Russian athletes are still competing, and it will be abundantly evident what country these 'neutral' athletes represent. By the IOC's action, or lack thereof, Russia has been rewarded for running the most sophisticated and well-orchestrated state sponsored doping program in the history of sport.
"If this does not shock the conscience of IOC officials and warrant exclusion from the Olympics, nothing ever will. Sir Philip Craven and his IPC Board displayed the courage, to which the IOC lacks, to disqualify Russia from Rio and now Pyeongchang based on the same evidence. The IPC has been uniformly commended for showing decency, sportsmanship and integrity still matter as it pertains to sport. The IOC has given an opposing statement by their decision."
— Hayley Wickenheiser (@wick_22) December 5, 2017
It's a victory that only officially cleared and clean athletes will be able to compete in Pyeongchang but it's so sad that Russian athletes won't be able to compete under the flag of the country that raised them.
— Johnny Weir (@JohnnyGWeir) December 5, 2017
This would have been the moment I knew I had won a medal. Instead looking on, knowing 2 athletes ahead of me cheated their way to Olympic medals. Will never get those few moments back, ever. pic.twitter.com/Ccc8FF1wg0
— Kelly Sotherton (@KellySotherton) December 5, 2017
John Jackson, member of the British bobsled team (via the Associated Press): Jackson is in line for an upgrade to a bronze medal from Sochi 2014. "For me, it's all to do with the accountability and Russia, as a nation, as a sporting governing body ... has not taken accountability and ownership of the fact that this was a massive doping operation within their sporting community. The IOC needed to make to stand to show Russia and any other country that might be thinking about doing systematic doping that they can't get away with it."
Margot Boer, retired Dutch speedskater (via The Associated Press): Boer is in line for a silver medal from the women's 500 meters in Sochi that was stripped from Russia's Olga Fatkulina. "They are making a point. This a step back in the good direction. There are some athletes who I know for sure had nothing to do with it, so I don't want them to not be able to race," she said. "If your brother is bad and does something wrong, the rest of the family doesn't have to go to jail."
Nancy Park, director of international media relations for the Pyeongchang Olympic Committee
"We accept and respect the decisions of the IOC executive board that Russia may compete under a neutral flag. We will work with the IOC and all other relevant stakeholders accordingly to ensure that all the athletes and officials attending the Games as part of this team are given the best experience possible."
Sir Hugh Robertson, British Olympic Association chairman
"We take no pleasure in the outcome of the IOC Commissions. However, the IOC has taken the right decision. We believe this to be a seminal moment in the battle against doping, particularly when it is systematic and widespread, and must acknowledge the role of the IOC and WADA in moving to restore the integrity of Olympic sport."
Tiger Shaw, U.S. Ski & Snowboard president and CEO
"We're thrilled to see the IOC take firm action with fairness to athletes in mind. What we're concerned with now, we're focused on the actions of our international federation. The IOC may be finished, but the [international federations] are not."
Ian Chesterman, chef de mission for Australian Olympic Committee
"This is an appropriate and considered response. Punishing those involved in the blatant cheating ... while allowing clean athletes to compete in Pyeongchang. The culprits, the corrupt, have been dealt with."
Max Cobb, USA Biathlon CEO
"I appreciate the diligence the IOC has shown in the investigations. It knocks the wind out of you to realize the depth and breadth of the doping conspiracy their rulings describe; the IOC decision supports fairness and feels justified. I am really troubled to hear the Russian Biathlon Union president was a part of the doping conspiracy. This is damaging to the image of our sport. With more data coming from WADA in the days ahead, I hope the [International Biathlon Union] will be swift and decisive in sanctioning all persons implicated in this conspiracy. Hundreds of moments have been stolen from clean athletes and that has to stop here and now."
Lowell Bailey, reigning biathlon world champion of the United States
Bailey, whose sport has struggled with doping issues for many years, called Tuesday "a tough day, a watershed moment for international sport," and was gratified to see the IOC respond vigorously. "It's a result that, to be quite honest, I never thought I'd see in my sports career," said Bailey, 36.
"The Sochi plan was very clearly premeditated to hijack the entire Olympic Games, and if that were to continue, if there were not a strong deterrent for future actors, then we should all just go home and do something else with our lives and the Olympics should close up shop," he told ESPN. "There's no point in having a rigged competition."