Olympics: Russia Can Compete as Neutral

With the Russian Olympic Committee suspended by the Olympics' governing body Russian athletes must compete under a neutral flag if they want to participate in the Pyeong Chang Winter Olympics. The ROC's Moscow headquarters are seen in this build

The committee came to the same conclusion as the World Anti-Doping Agency did in July 2016 - that the Russian government operated a doping program during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games.

IOC bans the Russian Olympic Committee from the 2018 Winter Games but says clean Russian athletes will still be able to take part as independent competitors "under the Olympic flag".

The IOC's president, Thomas Bach, said of the punishment handed down on Tuesday, "This was an unprecedented attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games and sport".

McLaren's report showed more than 1,000 Russian athletes were involved in a broader system to dope and cover up positive tests.

The Kremlin did not immediately comment on the decision, but on Monday spokesman Dmitry Peskov said it was not considering a boycott, though President Vladimir Putin would make the final decision. The IOC is set to decide later on the level of Russia's participation in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics as calls to ban the country over suspected state-sponsored doping grow louder. Athletes approved by the panel will compete in a uniform with "Olympic Athlete from Russia" written on it and under an Olympic flag.

It is the first time the International Olympic Committee has ever imposed a blanket ban on a country for doping.

"Argentina again?" Two African nations in groups of death and more
We are realistic, we wait for the draw and afterwards, we will organise our planning and our friendly games. Their spirited display lifted by their vocal travelling fans gave a new meaning to global football.

In barring Russia's team, Olympic officials left the door open for some Russian athletes.

Barely two weeks before the Rio Games, Canadian law professor Richard McLaren releases a report for WADA which outlines rampant Russian state-run doping at the Sochi Olympics and other major sports events.

"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. On Monday, Peskov said that Russian Federation was not planning to boycott the Olympics if the International Olympic Committee imposed restrictions on the country's participation. Some Russian officials have threatened to boycott if the International Olympic Committee delivered such a severe punishment.

At the coming games, Bach said Tuesday, a special medal ceremony will reassign medals to retroactive winners from Sochi.

The commission based its findings on an independent report by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren that was commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency and published past year. By Monday, 25 Russians had been disqualified from the Sochi Games and banned from the Olympics for life, and 11 medals were stripped.

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