Russian Federation banned from 2018 Winter Olympics for doping: International Olympic Committee

IOC Bans Russia From 2018 Winter Olympics

Following an investigation into doping in its top-level athletics programs, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has banned Russian Federation from the 2018 Winter Olympics in an announcement on Tuesday.

The decision came on the heels of a 17-month investigation into what the International Olympic Committee called "the systemic manipulation of the anti-doping rules and system" at the 2014 Sochi Games. Russian officials have threatened to boycott the Pyeongchang Games if its team members are forced to compete under the Olympic flag. Ihe IOC stopped short of a blanket ban in order to allow Russian athletes who have not been implicated in the doping scandal to compete.

This would mean that Russian athletes could compete, but without wearing Russian uniforms, having no Russian iconography, and the country's anthem would not be played should any medals be awarded.

While other nations' Olympics teams had questioned whether Russia should be allowed to participate, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko made a last-minute appeal to the committee, saying, "We are relying on common sense, on the IOC Charter, on the assumption that no one abolished the presumption of innocence".

More on this as it develops.

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Reacting to the move Tuesday, Scott Blackmun, CEO of the U.S. Olympic Committee, said, 'The IOC took a strong and principled decision.

The decision by the IOC's executive board follows last year's McLaren Report from the World Anti-Doping Agency, which confirmed that Russia's Olympics program had engaged in an "institutional conspiracy" to beat the system that included using a "mouse hole" to swap out athletes' drug-tainted samples for clean ones. "Requirements have been issued to the global federations and RUSADA (Russian anti-doping agency) for the level of testing of those athletes", he said. Hundreds of Russian athletes landed in Rio and they won 56 medals.

The Committee decided "not to accredit any official from the Russian Ministry of Sport for the Olympic Winter Games".

Some had feared a repeat performance from the International Olympic Committee on Tuesday, despite a second report by McLaren in December 2016 which confirmed that more than 1,000 Russian athletes had been involved in, or benefited from, state-sponsored doping.

Meanwhile the credibility of the Russian whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov, who ran the Moscow anti-doping laboratory before fleeing past year and revealing what he knew to McLaren, was recently enhanced by the Oswald commission, who confirmed that he was a "truthful witness".

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