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Can Russian Olympic Success Overshadow Its Doping Scandal?

Until about a week ago, the country was unsure whether its athletes would be eligible to participate in the games.

By Eugene Daniels | August 6, 2016

Russian judo competitor Beslan Mudranov took home the country's first gold medal in Rio on Saturday. The first-time Olympian took out the reigning world champ to grab Russia's fourth judo gold ever. 

Russia is typically a juggernaut at the summer Olympics; since 1996, the country has always landed in the top four in the medal rankings by the end of competition. But this year, a massive doping bust has left Russia with a smaller team and a big scandal hanging over its head.

The majority of stories about Mudranov have at the very least mentioned Russia's state-sponsored doping. And it makes sense: It wasn't all that clear until about a week before the games whether the entire country would be banned from participating.

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SEE MORE: Bizarre Olympic Cheating Scandals So Bad They Almost Deserve Medals

An independent investigation in July found Russia's illegal doping program involved multiple sports and that the government had attempted to cover it all up. A whistleblower who ran the country's anti-doping lab said he designed a cocktail to help athletes recover faster during the Sochi Olympics.

The World Anti-Doping Agency wanted Olympic officials to ban all of the country's athletes — in addition to basically all of the track and field athletes already banned. High jumper Darya Klishina was able to get clearance to compete independently and is the only Russian track and field athlete able to compete.

The ban could continue to impact Russian athletes for years to come. The country could still be banned from the 2018 Winter Olympics.

This video includes images from Getty Images and clips from CCTVRTBBC and NBC

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