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Putin to Allow Athletes to Compete as Individuals in PyeongChang

07 December 2017

Jean-Loup Chappelet, an Olympic specialist from the University of Lausanne, said the IOC's decision was "strong because it rested on its credibility regarding the subject of doping and sent the ball into Russia's court".

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.

The IOC has stripped 11 medals from Russia's tally in Sochi so far over the doping.

Former Switzerland President Samuel Schmid told a news conference that his report confirmed "the systematic manipulation of the anti-doping rules and system in Russian Federation".

"We support the International Olympic Committee's decision to ban Russian Federation from participating in the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, ensuring a clean competition", Canadian Sport Minister Kent Hehr said in a statement. It would be premature, he said, to draw conclusions before officials have spoken to the IOC.

"I can not accept the option that I would compete in the Olympic Games without the Russian flag as a neutral athlete", Medvedeva said in a statement issued by Russia's Olympic Committee (and translated into English by Google Translate). Russian short-track speed skater Viktor Ahn said on Wednesday, he would be competing as a neutral in the PyeongChang Games in what could be his final appearance at the Olympics.

Another Olympics expert from the University of France-Comte, Eric Monnin, said the International Olympic Committee was "playing for its life and legitimacy" during the sordid state-sponsored doping affair, in which the global body also banned Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko from the Olympics for life.

"It is not lost on many clean athletes that Russian athletes who were part of this system may have had no choice but to comply".

Ivan Melnikov, First Deputy Speaker in Russia's parliament on Tuesday called the ban "unthinkably harsh", the news agency Interfax reported. "Each of them has to make a decision of some kind now".

The head of Russia's Olympic Committee, Alexander Zhukov, told the IOC that punishing clean athletes was "unjust and immoral". "There are positive and negative sides", he said.

He also noted that it was "very important" that the neutral uniforms that Russian athletes would wear would still have the word "Russia" on them.

As it announced Russia's punishment, the International Olympic Committee also released the latest report by the disciplinary commission chaired by Samuel Schmid, a former president of Switzerland.

The IOC's decision comes 18 months after it decided not to impose an outright ban on Russian athletes ahead of Rio and told global sports federations to decide individually on the participation of Russians at the Olympics in Brazil. "I can't just throw it all away", he said, the Russian-language news site Meduza reported.

Putin to Allow Athletes to Compete as Individuals in PyeongChang