When a number of Russian models were denied travel visas to attend the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show in China a few weeks ago, who knew that was the tip of the access denial iceberg? In breaking news reported by The New York Times, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has issued a ruling banning the entire Russian Olympic Team from the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

According to The New York Times, "The country's government officials are forbidden to attend, its flag will not be displayed at the opening ceremony and its anthem will not sound. Any athletes who receive special dispensation to compete will do so as individuals wearing a neutral uniform, and the official record books will forever show that Russia won zero medals."

The ban is a result of the IOC's in-depth investigation into Russia's alleged doping scheme which found the Russian's, "guilty of executing an extensive state-backed doping program."

But while the ban bars Russia's team from attending, the IOC have worded the punishment so individual athletes with a history of clean drug tests could apply for permission to compete in the neutral uniforms.

The Russian Olympic team is always a fierce Olympic competitor, at the 2014 Olympics Games held on their home turf in Sochi, they won the most gold medals (13) of any country, but were later stripped of four due to doping cases. Even without those extra gold medals, they still ended up in the number four spot on the medal tally just behind Norway, Canada and the US.

This isn't the first time Russian athletes have been caught up in doping scandal with top tennis pro, Maria Sharapova found guilty of taking performance enhancing drugs resulting in her suspension from the pro tennis circuit and loss of lucrative sponsorship deals. 

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin is yet to respond but we're guessing other Olympic teams around the world will be greeting this news with cheering - with Russia out - the medal field is suddenly wide open.

Which MAJOR player is banned from the 2018 Winter Olympics?