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Russian Swimmers Banned From Rio Olympics

Russian swimmer Yulia Yefimova at the FINA World Championships in Kazan, Russia, on August 3, 2015.
Russian swimmer Yulia Yefimova at the FINA World Championships in Kazan, Russia, on August 3, 2015.

FINA, the world governing body for swimming, has banned seven Russian athletes from the Rio Olympics -- the first sport to impose bans following an International Olympic Committee (IOC) decision not to impose a complete ban against all Russian athletes over Russia’s systemic use of performance-enhancing drugs.

The banned Russian swimmers include Vladimir Morozov and Nikita Lobintsev, both 4x100m freestyle bronze-medal winners with the Russian team at the 2012 Olympics.

Yulia Efimova, another 2012 Olympic bronze medalist, also was among the seven banned Russian swimmers. She said she will appeal the decision to the Court for the Arbitration of Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The IOC’s July 24 decision leaves the decision about athletes' participation in the Rio Olympics to the international federation of each individual sport.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on July 25 described the decision as “positive” and called for closer cooperation between Russia, the IOC, and international sports organizations.

The IOC's decision follows a series of critical reports documenting a widespread, state-sponsored doping program in Russia -- as well as a sophisticated effort to disguise it.

The IOC said international sporting federations "should carry out an individual analysis of each athlete's anti-doping record, taking into account only reliable adequate international tests, and the specificities of the athlete's sport and its rules, in order to ensure a level playing field."

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa, and TASS

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