Maria Verchenova will be an Olympian after all.
Verchenova has been cleared for the Olympic golf competition at the upcoming Rio Games by the International Golf Federation and the International Olympic Committee following a review of her doping record.
According to IGF vice president Ty Votaw, “the IOC has notified the IGF and Russian Olympic Committee that Ms. Maria Verchenova’s entry to the women’s individual golf event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games has been confirmed.”
The Ladies European Tour pro from Moscow is the lone Russian golfer to qualify for the Olympics, but her eligibility was put in doubt after the World Anti-Doping Agency recommended a blanket ban on all Russian athletes following the discovery of Russia’s state-sanctioned doping operation.
The IOC, however, balked at a full ban and left it up to each individual sports federation to vet each Russian athlete competing under their jurisdiction, though a three-member IOC panel reviewed all of the decisions made by the international federations and issued final determinations.
The IOC set the bar high: only athletes with a spotless doping record who had been drug tested outside of Russia would be admitted.
At last count, at least 119 Russian athletes have been banned from the Rio Games, including the entire weightlifting team and all but a single member of the track and field team.