IOC bans Russian Olympic Committee for 2018 Games

Russia suspended from Winter Olympics clean athletes can compete as neutrals

The International Olympic Committee barred Russia and the its sports leaders from the upcoming games in South Korea after its lead investigator concluded members of the Russian government concocted a doping scheme at the 2014 Sochi Games that "caused unprecedented damage to Olympism and to sports".

Speaking at a press conference after the decision was announced, Schmid said that his commission had not found any evidence that the Kremlin was aware of the doping cover-up, but the International Olympic Committee banned Russia's former sports minister and current head of Russia's national soccer association, Vitaly Mutko, for life from the Olympics, along with his former deputy, Yuri Nagornykh. The Russian flag will not fly and its anthem will not play during the opening, closing and medal ceremonies.

"They will compete with a uniform bearing this name and under the Olympic Flag", the IOC said.

The Russian doping scandal has hit world sport and the country itself hard, as medal after medal has been stripped from the hosts of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

The answer, in simple terms, is that it's a strident punishment in response to investigations into the Russian Olympic program's use of performance-enhancing drugs over the past several years.

More on this as it develops.

"Everyone is talking about how to punish Russia, but no one is talking about how to help Russia", Smirnov said, sipping a hot beverage in the lobby of the Lausanne Palace Hotel before delivering his final appeal to officials that afternoon.

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In 2016, a WADA report found that more than 1,000 Russian competitors in more than 30 sports had been involved in a conspiracy to hide positive drug tests over a five-year period. "This completely contradicts the basic Olympic principles", he told the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne before the decision to ban Russian Federation from the 2018 Olympic Games was announced.

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

Bach was joined Tuesday by Samuel Schmid, the former president of Switzerland, who led a commission investigating the allegations against Russian Federation.

"The IOC, at its absolute discretion, will ultimately determine the athletes to be invited from the list", said the IOC's statement, ruling out all those to have previously committed a doping violation.

International Olympic Committee comes down hard on Russian cheats, stripping Alexander Legkov of his Sochi 50-kilometre cross country gold medal and banning him for life.

This year the team will be called Olympic athletes from Russian Federation.

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