IOC Deciding Whether to Ban Russia From Pyeongchang Games

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The International Olympic Committee decided Russian Federation won't be allowed to send a team to the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.

The IOC could now impose a stricter sanction by allowing Russians to compete only as neutral athletes without their national team name, flag or anthem.

The 18-year-old has not lost for two years and is considered a gold medal favourite at the Winter Olympics, due to take place between February 9 and 25. "It confirms my findings in the investigation that I conducted for WADA".

The Russian delegation to the meeting includes IOC member Alexander Zhukov, president of its national Olympic committee, and world figure skating champion Evgenia Medvedeva.

Mutko heads the organizing committee of soccer's next World Cup.

The United States Olympic Committee issued a statement also praising the IOC's "strong and principled decision".

"As an athlete myself, I feel very sorry for all the clean athletes from all [National Olympic Committees] who are suffering from this manipulation".

"No, it is not under consideration", he said. He added that they plan to discuss it Russian sports officials and athletes at a forthcoming meeting before a final decision on participation, but didn't give a date.

Medvedeva, the two-time world champion, will also be here to make an impassioned plea to the International Olympic Committee for Russian athletes to be able to compete under their own flag at Pyeongchang 2018.

Olympians Try Korean Snacks
Olympians Try Korean Snacks

If they win, the Olympic flag would be raised and the Olympic anthem played to honor their victories.

According to the Russian news agency TASS, the All-Russia State Broadcasting Company [VGTRK] will not broadcast the Winter Olympics in the absence of the Russia team from the event. He said, "refusing means giving in" to what he terms political pressure.

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

Putin's spokesman, Dmirty Peskov, said on December 4 that a Russian boycott of the Olympics was "not being discussed".

The I.O.C. launched an investigation after Russian whistle blower, Grigory Rodchenkov, claimed the country's anti-doping agency was tampering with athlete's drug tests during the 2014 games, in Sochi.

Putin and other Russian officials have all denied any state involvement in the string of doping cases that has led to the banning of dozens of Russian athletes over the past two years. It blames Rodchenkov as a rogue employee, and wants the scientist extradited from the United States, where he is a protected witness. The delegation was led by Zhukov, who was later suspended.

The IOC's executive board met Tuesday in Switzerland to vote on whether to ban Russian Federation from the games over its ongoing doping scandal.

The chairman of that disciplinary panel, Swiss lawyer Denis Oswald, reported about prosecuting Russian athletes implicated in cheating at Sochi. One Russian was cleared. The banned athletes have said they will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne.

Any sanctions imposed by the International Olympic Committee can also be challenged at CAS, and later at Switzerland's supreme court, which can intervene if legal process has been abused.

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