Published: Tue, December 05, 2017
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

IOC Bans Russia From 2018 Winter Olympics

IOC Bans Russia From 2018 Winter Olympics

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 Olympic anthem will play when Russian athletes earn medals.

"There will be a lot more in the coming two or three months as we are in the winter season". The IOC said no Russian officials will be accredited for the event, including the minister for sport and his deputy, and individual athletes will only be allowed under strict conditions wearing a neutral uniform under the Olympic flag.

The IOC says more than 17 percent of samples were taken from Russians.

They include a blanket ban on all Russian competitors, a move that would trigger outrage from President Vladimir Putin's government.

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.

With the exception of one athlete, Russian Federation was barred from track-and-field events and weightlifting at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, but it was allowed to field teams in other sports.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko attends an event for the 2018 World Cup in Moscow
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko attends an event for the 2018 World Cup in Moscow

The IOC has already received significant evidence that Russian athletes benefitted from a massive state-backed doping programme that involved secret agents and peaked during the 2014 Games in Sotchi.

From April through October, nearly 7,000 samples were taken from 4,000 athletes in tests coordinated by the IOC, World Anti-Doping Agency and winter sports federations.

"This was an unprecedented attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games and sport", IOC President Thomas Bach said.

He added that International Olympic Committee will likely have conducted 20,000 separate doping tests on potential 2018 competitors before the Games open, part of an effort to turn the page on an era plagued by damaging doping scandals.

The IOC also imposed a fine of $15 million on the Russian Olympic committee.

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