Russian Federation kicked out of 2018 Winter Olympics
Russian Federation kicked out of 2018 Winter Olympics
Sean Gallup Getty Images President Vladimir Putin maintained that Russia did not run a state-backed doping system around the Sochi Olympics
07 December, 2017, 06:16
As of Tuesday, any of those Russian athletes who meet specific competition standards and drug testing requirements will be able to compete but will be barred from wearing their Russian uniforms and will trade their home country's flag for that of the Olympics.
"We have to say straight out, we ourselves are partly to blame, because it gave grounds for this", Putin said.
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".
Russian athletes will be invited to compete at the 2018 Winter Olympics, but their anthem will not play, their flag will not fly and any medals they win will not accrue toward the country medal count, the International Olympic Committee announced Tuesday. The Russian Olympic Committee was suspended effective immediately, and the IOC said it will not acknowledge anyone from the Russian Ministry of Sport at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in February.
The board acted on recommendations by a commission led by former Swiss President Samuel Schmid, who confirmed "the systemic manipulation of the anti-doping rules and system in Russian Federation".
"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".
The Kremlin leader said a final decision on Russia's stance regarding the IOC ban would be made at a meeting of Russian Olympic authorities in the coming days. The struggling Winter Olympics, an event no nation really wants to host and which lacks the global appeal of the Summer Olympics, will suffer without the Russian contingent. "We definitely have to go", he told Russian media after the International Olympic Committee decision.
However, it said of Yuri Nagornykh, the deputy sports minister at the time of the Sochi Games, "it is impossible to conclude that he was not aware" of doping cover-ups.
"They are always trying to put us down in everything - our way of life, our culture, our history and now our sport", Maria Zakharova, the spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry, wrote in a Facebook post. "Each of them has to make a decision of some kind now". Zhukov said that it was positive that Russian athletes could still participate in Pyeongchang.
She said the IOC choice of "Olympic Athletes from Russia" as the official designation, instead of a more neutral tag, decided the issue for her.
If Russian athletes skip Pyeongchang, it will mark the first time the Olympic superpower did not compete since 1984, when the Soviet Union rallied 14 communist countries in a boycott of the Los Angeles Olympics in response to an American-led protest of the 1980 games in Moscow. Before Putin's statement, Victor An, the Korean-born short-track speed-skater said that he would go unless Russian Federation boycotted the Olympics.
Whether or not they compete under their own flag, ski jumping and Nordic combined seem unlikely to result in any medals for Russians.
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