Russian Speedskating Star Viktor Ahn Among Barred Olympic Athletes

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Meanwhile, five Russian ice hockey players have not received invitations from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, the Russian Ice Hockey Federation (RIHF) told Sputnik on Tuesday.

After receiving the IOC-approved list, Pozdnyakov said that several leading Russian athletes had been left off it, including six-time Olympic champion in short track skating Viktor Ahn and 2014 Olympic gold medalist in biathlon Anton Shipulin. "They were never involved in doping stories and the many tests they passed over their careers have showed that they are clean athletes".

Ahn's fellow short-track skaters Denis Airapetyan and Vladimir Grigoryev were also not included in the list of potential Olympic participants from Russian Federation.

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"If no explanations follow, perhaps Russian athletes will have to revise their decision regarding the participation in the Olympics in Pyeongchang". "Regardless, their names are now missing from the list of potential participants in the games".

Those deemed clean will be allowed to appear in Pyeongchang under a neutral flag as an "Olympic Athlete from Russia".

President of the Russian Skating Union Alexei Kravtsov said he was "outraged by the unjust decision" to bar top athletes. "The IOC would like to make clear that there may still be further enquires and further anti-doping procedures coming up against a number of those athletes who have not been included on the pool of athletes considered for invitation".

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More than 40 Russian athletes, including Sochi Olympic champions Alexander Legkov, and Alexander Tretyakov have been slapped with life bans from the IOC and had their Sochi records annulled as punishment for alleged doping violations in Sochi.

In a separate statement, the Russian figure skating federation said skaters Ksenia Stolbova and Ivan Bukin had been banned from the games, in a decision the body slammed as "groundless and absurd". They include world champions Pavel Kulizhnikov and Denis Yuskov, both of whom have previously served doping bans, as well as Ruslan Zakharov, who won an Olympic relay gold medal in short-track speedskating in Sochi in 2014.

Last week the International Olympic Committee said the pool of Russians who could potentially be eligible for the 2018 Games had been reduced from 500 to 389.

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Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he had seen the "sad" media reports that An, Ustyugov and Shipulin had been banned.

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