>> Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.>> A lavish ceremony for a depleted team. Vladimir Putin, meeting Russia's best the day before they head to Rio, but in this year's Olympic Games, the Russian president will see more than 100 athletes banned for doping, including the whole track and field team. Speaking on Wednesday to the remaining sportsmen and women, Putin hinted that the West is to blame for what he calls a shadowy campaign from short-sighted political schemers.
The scandal centers on allegations that the Russian government systematically covered up doping for years. Reuters Moscow Bureau Chief Andrew Osborne, says this is a harsh blow for a country with such a rich sporting history.>> Russia remains one of the world's sporting superpowers and Essing Stand, essentially, its entire track and field team will not be able to go to the Olympics in Rio.
That's very serious for Mr. Putin. It's even more serious for him in particular because he has really built his own image, and his whole narrative of Russia being on the rise again, or was being resurgent, Russia getting up from its knees, upon the countries supporting Paris, upon the fact that Russia in the last Olympics and, indeed, in the 2014 winter Olympics, in which it hosted, Russia won more medals than any other country.
And the Kremlin and Putin really tried to cash in on that to show that look, we're very successful in sports. And that really is a reflection of something which is going on much more widely, which is that Russia, as a country, is rising again. So this is serious.
>> Apart from the whole track and field team, some athletes will also be absent from aquatics, canoeing, rowing, sailing, and the modern pentathlon. From the main sporting events, only gymnastics, fencing, judo, and the triathlon guarantee full Russian participation.