Korea urges Russians to compete as neutrals in 2018 Olympics


Russian officials have threatened to boycott the Pyeongchang Games if its team members are forced to compete under the Olympic flag.

Pro-Kremlin media focused on discrediting Grigory Rodchenkov, the whistle blower who gave evidence of a state- controlled doping programme in which he played a central role.

"What matters is that the commission wrote in its conclusions that there was no system of state support of doping in Russian Federation".

Bach called Russia's concerted attempts to break the rules "an unprecedented attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games and sport", citing the manipulation of the anti-doping lab at the Sochi Olympics of 2014.

Russian athletes have also responded, but focused more on what should happen with coming events than their peers who have committed the doping acts: Svetlana Zhurova, a Russian ice skating Olympic champion, said clean athletes should be allowed to compete as well as be allowed to do so under the Russian flag; Alexei Voevoda, a Russian bobsledder and Olympic champion, said athletes in the past were banned for a few years already, and that banning athletes for life is not in the spirit of sports.

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Schmid's commission said it had confirmed a system described in the investigations conducted by the Canadian lawyer, Richard McLaren for the World Anti-Doping Agency, that found the head of Russia's anti-doping laboratory had secretly switched out dirty samples from Russian athletes during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi with the help of the country's FSB intelligence service.

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".

Speaking to Yekaterina Nogerova, whose 6-year-old daughter was skating out on the ice, Lucian says that she says a decision against Russian Federation would be a "catastrophe" for her. Nogerova also said she is upset that the consequences will likely punish athletes and fans, but not people in the government.

The IOC stripped 29 weightlifting medals after 49 positive tests, most involving steroids, came back from reanalysis of the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympics.

Russian athletes or teams will participate under the name "Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR)", ESPN reported. Only athletes with no doping record will be permitted to compete.

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Zhukov described the International Olympic Committee decision as contradictory.

Four years ago in Sochi, Russia, India's Olympic committee had been banned and its athletes - of which there were only three - competed under the Olympic flag. "Each of them has to make a decision of some kind now". 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.

But if all conditions are met by those athletes, the International Olympic Committee might soften its stance at the closing ceremony in South Korea. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he will not boycott or block those athletes from competing.

Whether or not they compete under their own flag, ski jumping and Nordic combined seem unlikely to result in any medals for Russians.

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