LAUSANNE, Switzerland - The Russian Olympic team has been suspended from competing in the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, several media outlets reported Tuesday. The International Olympic committee, however, opted to allow clean athletes to participate under the Olympic flag.
On its website, the IOC said Russian government officials are forbidden to attend the Games, the Russian flag will not be displayed during the opening ceremony, and its anthem will not be played. Any athletes from Russia who receive special dispensation to compete will do so as individuals, The New York Times reported.
Russian athletes or teams will participate under the name "Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR),” ESPN reported. Their uniforms will bear this name and they will participate under the Olympic flag. The Olympic anthem will be played in any ceremony during which a Russian athlete wins a gold medal.
The IOC handed out the unprecedented suspension after completing investigations about Russia’s alleged doping violations, the Times reported. Tuesday's action was based on the findings of the IOC's Schmid Commission, formed in July 2016 to examine the role of Russian officials and institutions in organized doping, ESPN reported. The commission relied heavily on the testimony of former Moscow laboratory director Grigory Rodchenkov.
The IOC ruled that Russia was guilty of executing a state-backed doping program. It did, however, leave the door open for Russian athletes who have passed rigorous drug tests to compete.
Those with histories of rigorous drug testing may petition for permission to compete in neutral uniforms.
Rodchenkov's testimony, in concert with evidence unearthed and backed by forensic analysis in a World Anti-Doping Agency investigation, refute efforts by Russian government officials to distance themselves and portray Rodchenkov as a rogue actor, ESPN reported.
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