Russian Federation refused to return medals of athletes convicted of doping


Though Russian Olympians will not be allowed to compete under their flag, Putin said that he will not prevent athletes from competing in a "personal capacity" in the upcoming Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. If they go to Pyeongchang, they'll compete under the Olympic flag; if they win medals, their country's anthem won't be played.

The IOC found the athletes violated anti-doping rules as part of a wider, systematic doping effort by Russian Federation at the Sochi Games.

Two of Russia's gold medalists from the Sochi Olympics, the slalom snowboarders and married couple Vic Wild and Alyona Zavarzina, could make a return as neutrals, though they've yet to comment on the International Olympic Committee decision. The South Korean-born skating legend, is an eight-time gold medalist who obtained Russian citizenship in 2011, after a public falling out with South Korea's skating union.

To be invited, Russian athletes must meet the usual Olympic qualifying standards but also "be considered clean to the satisfaction of the panel", meaning they can't have been previously banned for doping and must face extensive pre-games drug testing.

Of the growing number of athletes who have been stripped of their medals, Bach said the International Olympic Committee is looking at how to give clean athletes who are elevated to the podium the recognition they deserve months and years after they competed. By the time the report came out, almost all Russian track and field athletes had been banned by the International Association of Athletics Federations.

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Pole vault star Yelena Isinbayeva told TASS: "Addressing our athletes, I want to say that they should absolutely not despair and should continue training for the games".

By invitation only, there will be Russians competing at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

Jean-Loup Chappelet, an Olympic specialist from the University of Lausanne, said the IOC's decision was "strong because it rested on its credibility regarding the subject of doping and sent the ball into Russia's court".

He said including the word "Russia" in the team name was a key issue.

"I can not accept the option that I would compete in the Olympic Games without the Russian flag as a neutral athlete", Medvedeva said in a statement issued by Russia's Olympic Committee (and translated into English by Google Translate).

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Ahead of the IOC's decision, NPR's Lucian Kim visited Moscow's famous Gorky Park to hear what Russians are making of the claims against their country in some of its most revered sports. "I am proud of my country; it is a great honor for me to represent it at the games".

"Russia has been punished, including the government in the guise of Mutko, but there exists a way out for those athletes who have nothing to do with this".

Earlier on Tuesday, the IOC decided that Russian athletes will be allowed to compete under the designation "Olympic Athlete from Russia" and march behind the Olympic flag at opening ceremonies.

The IOC stripped 29 weightlifting medals after 49 positive tests, most involving steroids, came back from reanalysis of the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympics.

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