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Posted by: Flin Dec 6 2017, 06:07 AM
Russia banned from competing at 2018 Winter Olympics, athletes may compete as 'neutrals'
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The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has banned Russia from competing at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

It will, however, allow some athletes from the country to compete as an "Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR)" without their national flag or anthem.

Russia could refuse the offer and boycott the games.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has previously said it would be humiliating for Russia to compete without national symbols.

"An Olympic boycott has never achieved anything," IOC president Thomas Bach said at a news conference.

"Secondly, I don't see any reason for a boycott by the Russian athletes because we allow the clean athletes there to participate."

The sanctions could be challenged at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The IOC also banned Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko for life from the Olympics for his role in the country's doping program, and suspended Russia's Olympic Committee (ROC) president Alexander Zhukov as an IOC member.

A fine of $US15 million ($19.7 million) was also imposed on the ROC to pay for investigations into the case and to help fund anti-doping work.

The IOC told a news conference that a 17-month investigation headed up by the former president of Switzerland, Samuel Schmid, confirmed "the systematic manipulation of the anti-doping rules and system in Russia".

Those Ruskies never seem to learn.

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