Russia weighs 2018 Olympic boycott after its benched over Sochi doping-scheme

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A woman waves a Russian flag outside of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) headquarters in front of the Olympic Rings prior to the opening of the first day of the executive board meeting of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at the IOC headquarters, in Pully near Lausanne, on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. Russian athletes will be allowed to compete at the upcoming Pyeongchang Olympics as neutrals despite orchestrated doping at the 2014 Sochi Games, the International Olympic Committee said Tuesday. (Jean-Christophe Bott, Keystone via AP)

Russian athletes will be able to compete in the 2018 Winter Olympics, but not under their country’s flag. The International Olympic Committee has barred the country from competing in the upcoming games. This stems from evidence of government involvement in a widespread doping program at the 2014 Sochi Games.

No Russian officials will be allowed to attend the Pyeongchang Olympics in South Korea. The country’s flag will be excluded, its anthem won’t play and its Olympic committee faces a $15 million fine. Some Russian athletes could be invited to compete under a neutral flag. But Russia won’t receive credit for any medals they win.

CGTN’s Julia Lyubova explains the IOC ruling and possible fallout from Moscow. 

Russia’s Olympic team will not be allowed to participate in next February’s Winter Olympic Games in South Korea. The IOC has banned Russia after a long investigation showed evidence of an ‘unprecedented systematic manipulation’ of the anti-doping system. The IOC will only allow Russian athletes who have never been implicated in doping to perform under an Olympic flag wearing a neutral uniform.

Russia denies the existence of any state-sponsored doping program and has called the decision ‘politically-motivated’.  Moscow has previously said that it was not acceptable for its athletes to take part in the Olympics as neutrals but said it would decide on whether to boycott the Pyeongchang Games altogether. 

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Olympic officials already banned 25 Russian athletes from the Olympic Games for life over doping violations at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi. Russian gold-winning bobsledder Aleksander Zubkov was one of them, but he denies any wrongdoing. The IOC also suspended Russian Olympic Committee President Alexander Zhukov and banned Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko from any future participation at the Olympic Games.

Statement from the head of the ROC Alexander Zhukov on the decision of the Executive Committee of the IOC