International Olympic Committee ban Russian Federation from 2018 Winter Olympics over doping

Dec 06, 2017, 00:37
International Olympic Committee ban Russian Federation from 2018 Winter Olympics over doping

Russians won't compete in the Pyeongchang Olympics under their own flag, if they compete at all, following a decision from the International Olympic Committee on Tuesday.

Speaking at the press conference announcing the ruling of the IOC Executive was Samuel Schmid, the Swiss politician who led the IOC inquiry into whether anti-doping subterfuge was carried out with the backing of the Russian government.

Russian athletes were however handed a lifeline by the IOC who have allowed them to compete in a uniform bearing the name "Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR)" provided they can prove they were not involved in a state-sponsored doping programme, BBC writes. Investigators say Russian officials went to elaborate means to ensure a better showing - and it worked, as Russia's athletes more than doubled their medal count by winning 33 medals (13 of them gold), the most of any country. The Russian flag will not fly and its anthem will not play during the opening, closing and medal ceremonies.

The IOC Executive Board today studied and discussed the findings of the Commission led by the former President of Switzerland, Samuel Schmid, addressing the systematic manipulation of the anti-doping system in Russian Federation.

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Two IOC commission leaders - appointed after WADA investigator Richard McLaren upheld Rodchenkov's doping claims in July 2016 - also reported to the Olympic board.

"The IOC took a strong and principled decision", the USOC said in a statement.

The IOC announced the decision after examining evidence of state-sponsored doping over several years that reached a high-point at the Winter Olympics hosted in Sochi, Russia, in 2014.

"As an athlete myself, I feel very sorry for all the clean athletes from all [National Olympic Committees] who are suffering from this manipulation".

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He was formerly sports minister and continuously denied state-backed doping was going on.

The suspension follows a report of findings by the International Olympic Committee, led by the former President of Switzerland, Samuel Schmid, that address the systematic manipulation of the anti-doping system in Russian Federation.

"Everyone is talking about how to punish Russia, but no one is talking about how to help Russia", Smirnov said, sipping a hot beverage in the lobby of the Lausanne Palace Hotel before delivering his final appeal to officials that afternoon.

The IOC also will bar Russian officials who were team leaders at Sochi, and coaches or medial staff who have been linked to doping athletes. By the time the report came out, almost all Russian track and field athletes had been banned by the International Association of Athletics Federations. The sanctions have knocked Russian Federation down to fourth place in the medals table after finishing first in 2014 with 33 medals.

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