Doping And The Olympics: Where Geopolitics And Sports Meet

Russia’s athletes compete during the National track and field championships at a stadium in Cheboksary, Russia, Monday, June 20, 2016. The Russian national track and field championships were supposed to offer a chance to secure Olympic places, but with Russia’s athletes now banned from the Rio games, excitement for competition has been replaced by despair and defiance.
Russia's athletes compete during the National track and field championships at a stadium in Cheboksary, Russia. The Russian national track and field championships were supposed to offer a chance to secure Olympic places, but with Russia's athletes now banned from the Rio games, excitement for competition has been replaced by despair and defiance. Francesca Ebel / AP Photo
Russia’s athletes compete during the National track and field championships at a stadium in Cheboksary, Russia, Monday, June 20, 2016. The Russian national track and field championships were supposed to offer a chance to secure Olympic places, but with Russia’s athletes now banned from the Rio games, excitement for competition has been replaced by despair and defiance.
Russia's athletes compete during the National track and field championships at a stadium in Cheboksary, Russia. The Russian national track and field championships were supposed to offer a chance to secure Olympic places, but with Russia's athletes now banned from the Rio games, excitement for competition has been replaced by despair and defiance. Francesca Ebel / AP Photo

Doping And The Olympics: Where Geopolitics And Sports Meet

The first Russian athlete has been cleared to run at the Olympic Games in Rio. The decision comes after the International Olympic Committee announced that all of Russia’s Olympic athletes would have to prove they were “clean” from doping before being allowed to compete at the games this August.

Russia is under investigation for allegedly running a nationwide doping program at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. But state-sponsored doping is nothing new— it dates back to the early days of the Cold War. Mark Johnson, author of Spitting in the Soup: Inside the Dirty Game of Doping in Sports joins us to talk about the origins of doping in sports and the implications of a total Russian ban at this summer’s Olympics.