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International Olympic Committee Bans Russia From Competing in 2018 Winter Games

The International Olympic Committee has banned Russia from competing in Pyeongchang’s 2018 Winter Olympics after an investigation found evidence of state-sponsored doping.

The IOC has also banned many of the country’s Olympic officials from attending the games, in addition to barring Russia’s flag from being displayed during the opening ceremony.

The announcement comes after a lengthy investigation led by former president of Switzerland Samuel Schmid that determined Russian Olympic officials attempted to manipulate the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi by doping their athletes.

“This was an unprecedented attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games and spot,” IOC president Thomas Bach said in the statement. “The IOC EB, after following due process, has issued proportional sanctions for this systemic manipulation while protecting the clean athletes,” he added.

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As a result, while some Russian athletes will be able to compete at the winter games through direct invitations from the IOC, they will have to wear a neutral uniform bearing the name “Olympic Athlete from Russia,” with the Olympic anthem playing in place of the Russian national anthem in the event an athlete wins a medal.

Russian athletes will need to meet qualifying standards in their sport and will need to undergo all of the tests required before the games before they’ll able to play. Any athlete disqualified or deemed in eligible due to doping violations will not be allowed to enter.

Additionally, the IOC has banned Russian Minister of Sport Vitaly Mutko and his deputy, Yuri Nagornykh, from taking part in any future Olympic Games.

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The former CEO of the Organizing Committee for the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, Dmitry Chernyshenko, will also be barred from serving on the coordination commission for Beijing’s 2022 Winter Olympics.

The Russian Olympic Committee has also been fined $15 million, with investigators finding that the country’s sports ministry had tampered with over 100 urine samples to cover the fact that athletes had been using steroids during the 2014 Sochi Games, according to the New York Times.

Some Russian officials have threatened to boycott the games, which could mark the first time the country hasn’t competed in the games since 1984 should officials decide to go through with the boycott.

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