The International Olympic Committee has ban Russia from competing in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. The ban is punishment for a state-sponsored doping program at the 2014 Games hosted by Russia in Sochi.

The Russian athletes who can prove they are clean will be allowed to compete in South Korea but only under a neutral flag. The IOC said of the punishment, “This should draw a line under this damaging episode.”

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Thomas Bach, IOC president, and his board made the announcement in Lausanne on Tuesday. They came to the decision after reading through the findings of the 17-month long investigation into the 2014 Russian doping program. The IOC suspended the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) but said they will invite clean Russian athletes to compete in February under the name ‘Olympic Athlete from Russia’.

Russia adamantly denies the existence of a state-sponsored doping program but the Schmid report found evidence of “the systemic manipulation of the anti-doping rules and system.” The findings also backed up previous allegations of government involvement in cheating during the time leading up to the Winter Olympics almost four years ago.

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The president of IOC also said, “This was an unprecedented attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games and sport. This should draw a line under this damaging episode and serve as a catalyst for a more effective anti-doping system.”

The Olympic games are slated to begin on February 9 but will one of the leading countries in Olympic sport will not be present.

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-Actions are taken so far include,

-A total of 25 Russians have so far been banned from the Olympics for life on the recommendation of the IOC commission

-The first part of the McLaren report was published in July 2016, when Wada called on the IOC to ban Russia from the Rio Olympics

-The IOC decided against imposing a blanket ban, instead asking individual sporting federations to rule on their participation

-In total, 271 Russians competed in Rio

-Russia was banned from the Paralympics and remains banned from the 2018 Winter Paralympics.

H/T BBC

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