An Olympics-Sized Ban

December 8, 2017

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) issued its most severe punishment recently, banning the country of Russia from participating in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. (Yes, we’re talking about the same country that hosted the Winter Olympics just four years ago.) What does this mean exactly? It means that Russian officials won’t be allowed to attend the Olympics, the Russian flag won’t be displayed, and its national anthem won’t be played.

By Nizar Kerkeni (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Pow!—that’s a hefty blow to a country that has proudly participated in many Winter Olympic events in the past. The IOC did not issue this rule quickly, though; the punishment comes after a year of investigation to determine if Russian authorities were using drugs to better athletes’ performances. It’s not all bad news though—individual Russian athletes can still participate in the Winter Olympics by applying for special permission and competing under a neutral flag. These athletes will be part of the Olympic Athletes from Russia team as opposed to the Independent Olympics Athletes team. [CC BY 4.0 ( or CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Russian President Vladimir Putin has not responded to the IOC’s accusations, but he has said that Russia would not prevent any athletes from participating in the Olympics under a neutral flag—participation, he said, would be up to the individual athlete. Will Russia’s finest athletes compete in popular winter sports such as figure skating and cross-country skiing in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in February? The answer to that question remains to be seen. / Korean Culture and Information Service (Photographer name) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Are you as excited about the Winter Olympics as we are here at Xyza? We’re looking for Junior Reporters to report on the events that they’ll be watching. Some of our favorite sporting events are figure skating and snowboarding, so we’ll definitely be glued to the TV when athletes compete in those events!

What are you looking forward to watching? If you’re interested in reporting a story about the upcoming Winter Olympic Games, email with your name, your age, and the sport you are interested in covering for us.