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Russia Banned From 2018 Olympic Games Over Doping Regime

PyeongChang Winter Olympics
The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images

Russia has been banned from the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, following a doping investigation by the International Olympic Committee.

The committee announced Tuesday that some Russian athletes will be allowed to compete at the games at PyeongChang, but only under a strict testing regime. Those athletes will compete under the Olympic flag and be designated as “Olympic Athlete From Russia (OAR).”

The decision follows a 17-month investigation into Russia’s doping program at the Sochi Winter Games in 2014. The investigation concluded that Russia engaged in systemic effort to evade doping controls.

The committee banned two Russian officials — Vitaly Mutko, the minister of sport, and his deputy, Yuri Nagornykh — from any future participation in Olympic events. The committee also suspended Alexander Zhukov, the president of the Russian Olympic Committee, from his membership in the IOC, and withdrew Dmitry Chernyshenko, the CEO of the Sochi organizing committee, from his role in preparing for the 2022 games in Beijing.

In a statement, IOC president Thomas Bach said the penalties are proportionate to the systemic abuses uncovered in the probe.

“This was an unprecedented attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games and sport,” Bach said. “This should draw a line under this damaging episode and serve as a catalyst for a more effective anti-doping system led by WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency).”