IOC Meets to Decide Whether to Ban Russia From Pyeongchang Olympics

There are growing signs that Russian President Vladimir Putin will accept an IOC decision to compete as neutral athletes at Pyeongchang 2018

The Russian fashion designer, who created the uniforms the nation's competitors might wear at the 2018 Winter Olympics, said she will support the Russian team no matter the decision the International Olympic Committee makes as to whether the athletes can compete in Pyeongchang.

It is now seen as most probable that Russian athletes will be made to compete under a neutral flag at Pyeongchang 2018, while also paying a fine to fund sport's anti-doping effort.

Seventeen national anti-doping organizations demanded in September that Russian Federation be banned from the 2018 Olympics, citing "proven corruption of the Sochi 2014 Games and continuing failure in its obligations to clean sport".

Previously, suspended countries have used terms such as "Independent Olympic Athlete", which was used previous year for Kuwaiti competitors at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

"Over the past three years, a high stakes game of chicken has been played", wrote Tygart, who was one of the key players in bringing down the disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong.

The IOC also will bar Russian officials who were team leaders at Sochi, and coaches or medial staff who have been linked to doping athletes.

Zhukov said "they'll be called Russian athletes and not some kind of neutrals. that's very important".

"We are eager to collaborate with other stakeholders in this regard".

Direction given by IOC President Thomas Bach left will determine whether Russia are banned from Pyeongchang 2018 which will anger Vladimir Putin who must decide whether athletes will compete as neutrals
IOC Meets to Decide Whether to Ban Russia From Pyeongchang Olympics

A possible suspension of the Russian Olympic Committee for their complicity in the programme is another option for the IOC. "Now it is time to look ahead to PyeongChang".

The report by IOC-appointed investigator Samuel Schmid, the former president of Switzerland who was asked to verify an "institutional conspiracy", included a 50-page sworn affidavit from Rodchenkov, who was also a key witness for McLaren and an International Olympic Committee disciplinary commission.

Schmid's report confirmed "the systemic manipulation of the anti-doping rules and system in Russian Federation". Board member Denis Oswald will sum up the work of a disciplinary commission he has chaired to prosecute Russian athletes implicated in cheating in Sochi.

Some 25 individual Russians have been barred from the February 9-25 games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, after the committee ruled they had used banned drugs in Sochi.

Canadian Olympic Committee president Tricia Smith was pleased with the decision to ban Russian Federation.

Instead, Russia blames Grigory Rodchenkov, the former director of Moscow and Sochi testing laboratories, as a rogue employee.

Rodchenkov, who fled Russian Federation in 2015 to seek refuge in the United States where he is now enrolled in a witness protection program, claimed to have masterminded the doping and evasion infrastructure that peaked at the Sochi games.

"Dr. Rodchenkov provided credible and irrefutable evidence of the Russian state-sponsored doping system, which was ultimately supervised and financed by then-Minister of Sports Vitaly Mutko and other high-level government officials". Mutko was the sports minister in 2014 and is the head of the organizing committee of soccer's next World Cup.

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