Russian Olympic hopefuls need to prove they’re ‘clean’

BAN: IOC President Thomas Bach (left) announcing ‘unprecedented’ punishment. Photo credit: Twitter

THE INTERNATIONAL Olympic Committee has banned the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) from participating in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, opting to allow clean athletes to participate under the Olympic flag.

The ROC has been suspended “with immediate effect,” and there will be no accreditation for any members of the Russian Ministry of Sport. Dmitry Chernyshenko, a member of the Coordination Commission Beijing 2022, and IOC member Alexander Zhukov have been removed from their posts.

Any Russian athletes that wish to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics will have to be invited by a panel and will compete under the Olympic flag.

Announcing the decision, IOC President Thomas Bach said in a statement:

“This was an unprecedented attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games and sport. The IOC EB, after following due process, has issued proportional sanctions for this systemic manipulation while protecting the clean athletes. This should draw a line under this damaging episode and serve as a catalyst for a more effective anti-doping system led by the World Anti Doping Agency.

“As an athlete myself, I feel very sorry for all the clean athletes from all NOCs who are suffering from this manipulation. Working with the IOC Athletes’ Commission, we will now look for opportunities to make up for the moments they have missed on the finish line or on the podium.”

This punishment is unprecedented, and some Russian officials have called for a complete boycott of the event.

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