International Olympic Committee suspends Russian Federation from 2018 Winter Olympics

International Olympic Committee suspends Russian Federation from 2018 Winter Olympics

The IOC on Tuesday banned the Russian team from the Olympics after evidence emerged of an "unprecedented systematic manipulation" of the anti-doping system but left the door open for some Russians to compete as neutrals if they demonstrate they have a doping-free background.

The country has been in the spotlight for said allegations since a report by the World Anti-Doping Agency commissioned in 2015 found evidence of state-sponsored doping in Russian Federation, and accused it of systematically violating anti-doping regulations, an NBC News report stated. Russian officials have threatened to boycott the Pyeongchang Games if its team members are forced to compete under the Olympic flag.

"Most of the accusations are based on facts that have not been proven and are largely unfounded", Putin said.

In his first comments since the ban, Putin took aim at Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of Moscow's anti-doping laboratory whose allegations of state-sponsored doping and a cover-up at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics triggered investigations that ultimately led to the International Olympic Committee decision.

The IOC's decision comes 18 months after it decided not to impose an outright ban on Russian athletes ahead of Rio and told worldwide sports federations to decide individually on the participation of Russians at the Olympics in Brazil. The South Korean-born skating legend, is an eight-time gold medalist who obtained Russian citizenship in 2011, after a public falling out with South Korea's skating union. "Secondly, I don't see any reason for a boycott by the Russian athletes because we allow the clean athletes there to participate".

"Some athletes work out for maybe three years to get ready for the Olympics". By the time the report came out, almost all Russian track and field athletes had been banned by the International Association of Athletics Federations.

These athletes will participate under the name "Olympic Athlete from Russia", and their uniform will bear the Olympic flag.

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Zhukov had said the formal decision on whether Russian athletes will travel to Pyeongchang would likely be made at a gathering of its Olympic committee and its squads next week.

There could be outside medal chances for "Olympic Athletes from Russia" in freestyle skiing, luge and women's curling.

"Russia has been punished, including the government in the guise of Mutko, but there exists a way out for those athletes who have nothing to do with this". But the country is banned from being represented at the 2018 Games that start in February, after the International Olympic Committee said it found a widespread culture of Russian cheating through performance-enhancing drugs.

The team has since been stripped of 11 of the 33 medals it won in Sochi as a result of doping violations.

Jean-Loup Chappelet, an Olympic specialist from the University of Lausanne, said the IOC's decision was "strong because it rested on its credibility regarding the subject of doping and sent the ball into Russia's court".

It is now likely that a number of Russian champion athletes will compete.

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