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Russians can compete at Olympics, but without flag — IOC

06 December 2017

Russia's Olympic team has been barred from the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Bach and his board have come to their decision after reading through the findings and recommendations of a 17-month investigation headed by the former president of Switzerland, Samuel Schmid.

Last summer, facing similar calls to exclude Russia from the Rio Olympics, the IOC pushed the decision onto the global federations of individual sports, allowing them to choose which Russian athletes could compete. But they will have to compete under the title of "Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR)". During medal ceremonies, the Olympic anthem and Olympic flag will be played.

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

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Bach said he hoped the winter sports superpower would not react by boycotting but state news agency TASS has already reported that Russian television will not broadcast a Winter Games without a recognisably Russian team.

The IOC's decision comes 18 months after it had refused an outright ban of Russian athletes at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics and told global sports federations to decide individually on the participation of Russians in Brazil.

It was Rodchenkov who first revealed the scale of Russia's cheating and it was his testimony which formed the basis of the second of those WADA investigations, conducted by Canadian law professor Richard McLaren.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko and his deputy minister Yuri Nagornykh are banned from all future editions of the Olympics.

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The president of the Russian skating union has described the decision of offensive and insulting. Moscow has denied any state involvement in the doping of Russian athletes.

Nevertheless, the president of Russia's Bobsleigh Federation, Alexander Zubkov, told Russian television: "This is humiliation".

Meanwhile the credibility of the Russian whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov, who ran the Moscow anti-doping laboratory before fleeing previous year and revealing what he knew to McLaren, was recently enhanced by the Oswald commission, who confirmed that he was a "truthful witness". The two also made a statement applauding the IOC's decision.

Russian lawmakers and other officials quickly rejected the International Olympic Committee decision, saying it was influenced by politics. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) sets up an independent commission headed by its former chief, Dick Pound, to investigate the claims.

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Russians can compete at Olympics, but without flag — IOC