Former Alberta Olympic athletes Beckie Scott and Duff Gibson told Global News they are happy with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decision Tuesday to ban the Russian Olympic committee from the Pyeongchang Olympics.
The IOC will allow clean Russian athletes to compete as neutral athletes in South Korea, but they will face a number of restrictions – including not hearing the Russian national anthem if they win a medal.
The decision came down after a lengthy investigation into doping at the 2014 Sochi Games.
Three-time Olympian Beckie Scott is now the chair of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and was a guest on News Talk 770 Tuesday morning after the decision was announced.
The two-time medallist said she was a little bit surprised the IOC went as far as they did, only because of their historical management of doping and doping allegations.
Scott also said she thought it was important the governing agency made such a strong statement that went beyond the athletes.
“It was a conspiracy that existed between many different entities, including the very highest levels of government.”
Former luger and coach Duff Gibson agreed with Scott that the IOC decision was a good one.
“There’s a great deal of cheating that goes on under the radar that we would never hear about.
“When you have situations where they’re caught red-handed – you need to take advantage of that.”
Scott hopes this decision will help reassure fans that amateur sport is still full of athletes intent on competing fairly.
“The harder it is to dope and the harder it is to get away with it, the greater the chance that the public will have some restored faith that what they are watching is legitimate and that the efforts they are seeing are true efforts.”
WATCH: Lisa MacGregor spoke to Canadian Olympic skeleton racer Duff Gibson with his reaction to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) ban on the Russian team following a doping scandal.
Both athletes expressed frustration with cheating – something that actually had a direct impact on Scott in 2002. Scott ended up being awarded her gold medal at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games after the two Russian athletes ahead of her were later disqualified for doping.
Gibson said despite the pride felt after just making a national team, it would be extremely difficult to face an experience in which you place lower than athletes who are found out to have been doping.
“To then learn that people ahead of you have not followed the same values and followed the same rules that you have – that’s a really tough thing to swallow.”
Scott told Breakenridge this decision has sent a very strong message to clean athletes and to clean sport overall.
“This is the outcome that the WADA athletes committee was hoping for, that we were thinking would be the ideal solution, so we’re happy it happened.”
Gibson believes there is a fundamental message that is consistent from the kids he coaches to any elite athlete: the importance of loving what you do in order to reach your full potential.
“Knowing that someone else is cheating takes the fun out of it; it defeats the purpose of it.
“I think we need to remember what the purpose of the Olympics is in the first place.”