PICTURES: Russia banned from 2018 Winter Olympics, clean athletes may compete under neutral flag
SPUTNIK – The International Olympic Committee has ruled on Tuesday to suspend the Russian Olympic Committee immediately. The IOC’s decision follows a probe into the country’s alleged “systematic doping manipulation.”
The International Olympic Committee has ruled on Tuesday that a special commission will select clean Russian athletes who will be able to compete at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea’s Pyeongchang.
The IOC has listed the criteria for the sportsmen:
- Athletes must not have been disqualified or declared ineligible for any Anti-Doping Rule Violation.
- Athletes must have undergone all the pre-Games targeted tests recommended by the Pre-Games Testing Task Force.
- Athletes must have undergone any other testing requirements specified by the panel to ensure a level playing field
These clean athletes “will compete with a uniform bearing this name and under the Olympic Flag. The Olympic Anthem will be played in any ceremony.”
Thomas Bach, the IOC President, has commented on the decision:
“As an athlete myself, I feel very sorry for all the clean athletes from all NOCs who are suffering from this manipulation [alleged doping]. Working with the IOC Athletes’ Commission, we will now look for opportunities to make up for the moments they have missed on the finish line or on the podium.”
The Committee decided “not to accredit any official from the Russian Ministry of Sport for the Olympic Winter Games.” In addition, the Russian Olympic Committee was obliged “to reimburse the costs incurred by the IOC on the investigations and to contribute to the establishment of the Independent Testing Authority (ITA) for the total sum of USD 15 million, to build the capacity and integrity of the global anti-doping system.”
Following the publication of the 2016 McLaren’s report on doping violations in Russia, the IOC established two disciplinary commissions to decide on appropriate sanctions. The first commission, led by Denis Oswald, was tasked with re-verifying doping probes of Russian athletes from 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi. The other one, headed by former President of Switzerland Samuel Schmid, focused on allegations of a state-sponsored doping system in Russia.