The Winter Olympics in South Korea are just under four months away, and as it stands Russian athletes will be in attendance and competing under their nation's flag.
This is ludicrous. The country is still under investigation by the International Olympic Committee for its vast state-sponsored doping program, which was first exposed in 2015, and in which many Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, used performance-enhancing drugs.
More than a dozen anti-doping agencies from around the world have called on the IOC to either ban Russia's Olympic Committee or require its athletes to compete as neutrals.
The worry now is the IOC and the international sports federations that decide on athletes' eligibility for each event will instead run out the clock, just as they did before the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics, where only the Russian track team was suspended.
Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of Russia's anti-doping centre who exposed the scandal, expressed doubts in a New York Times column last month that any kind of full reckoning will ever occur.
There have been discouraging signs. For one, the IOC has seemed uninterested in what Dr. Rodchenkov, who now lives in protective custody in the United States, has to say.
That's curious for many reasons, not least of which is his allegations are backed by copious documentation and were corroborated by former Russian athletes and Canadian law professor Richard McLaren, who issued a scathing report for the World Anti-Doping Agency last fall.
After its most recent board meeting, the Canadian Olympic Committee demanded "immediate and meaningful sanctions" on Russia's sporting apparatus and athletes, including provisional measures if the two ongoing IOC probes into Russian doping aren't completed next month.
The COC is to be commended for standing up for clean sport and fair competition. But it may be the fight is already lost. Travis Tygart, head of the U.S. anti-doping agency, told the Guardian in September that "it wouldn't surprise me if the fix is already in."
If that's true, the COC will have at least helped expose the fact, that for all the talk of reform at the IOC, nothing has changed. The presence of Russian athletes at the games in South Korea will only further cement the IOC's reputation for corruption, and tarnish the games themselves.