Russian Olympic Committee apologise for doping violations

Ruben Hill
December 7, 2017

There had been speculation Moscow could boycott the Games entirely after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Tuesday barred the country from competition over what its chief Thomas Bach described as Russia's "unprecedented attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games and sport".

On Tuesday, Russia was banned from taking part in the Winter Olympics after findings of the Schmid Report confirmed 'systemic manipulation of the anti-doping rules'.

The door was left open, however, for Russians to compete as an "Olympic Athlete of Russia" as long as they satisfy strict conditions that show they have a doping-free background.

Bach stated that he had "taken note" of Putin's announcement, the International Olympic Committee president adding: "I hope and I'm confident that the clean Russian athletes will seize this opportunity to participate at the 2018 Winter Games to represent a new generation of clean athletes". The South Korean-born skating legend, is an eight-time gold medalist who obtained Russian citizenship in 2011, after a public falling out with South Korea's skating union.

They will compete under the "OAR" rather than under the "Independent Olympic Athletes" banner used by participants from a suspended National Olympic Committee. "It's less interesting", she said.

It's not yet clear if Russian athletes plan to challenge those requirements in court.

A uniform bearing the Olympic Flag will be given to these athletes and the Olympic Anthem will be played in any ceremony.

By invitation only, there will be Russians competing at the Pyeongchang Olympics. The IOC has stripped 11 medals from Russia's tally in Sochi so far over the doping.

The Russian media is particularly dismissive of Grigory Rodchenkov, the whistleblower responsible for exposing Russia's state-sponsored doping programme at Sochi 2014.

"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.

He said including the word "Russia" in the team name was a key issue.

Ivan Melnikov, First Deputy Speaker in Russia's parliament on Tuesday called the ban "unthinkably harsh", the news agency Interfax reported.

Rossiskaya Gazeta, the Russian government newspaper, took a strong stance against the decision, claiming that the IOC has "broken" the Olympic rings, the main symbol of sport.

A separate panel will determine the eligibility of Russian athletes at Pyeongchang 2018.

Zhukov had said the formal decision on whether Russian athletes will travel to Pyeongchang would likely be made at a gathering of its Olympic committee and its squads next week.

As you complete events, you will also frequently find yourself pitted against Russian athletes.

Previously known as Ahn Hyun-soo, he switched allegiance to Russian Federation after failing to make the South Korean team for the 2010 Winter Olympics, and his return in Pyeongchang will be hotly anticipated, regardless of which flag he competes under.

"I hope that this Russian case remains a unique case", he said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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