IOC suspends Russia from Winter Olympics

The International Olympic Committee has suspend the Russian Olympic Committee with immediate effect ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. 

The IOC revealed the results of their 17-month investigation into the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics at a press conference in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Tuesday.

The report, headed by Swiss Samuel Schmid, confirmed “the systemic manipulation of the anti-doping rules and system in Russia, through the Disappearing Positive Methodology and during the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014, as well as the various levels of administrative, legal and contractual responsibility, resulting from the failure to respect the respective obligations of the various entities involved”.

As such, the ROC has been suspended, as well as asked to reimburse the cost of the investigation and contribute financially to the establishment of the Independent Testing Authority to the tune of $15 million. 

However, as for the Russian athletes, they will be allowed to participate in the Games provided they meet strict criteria. They will compete under an “Olympic Athlete from Russia” (OAR) banner and fly the Olympic flag, with the Olympic Anthem being played at any ceremony. 

"This was an unprecedented attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games and sport,” IOC President Thomas Bach said of the Sochi Games debacle. 

“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 WADA.

“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."

There have also been several Russian officials – including former Minister of Sport Vitaly Mutko – named that will be excluded from any participation in all future Olympic Games. 

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