Putin will allow Russians to compete at Pyeongchang Olympics

Putin says Russia won't prevent athletes from competing in Pyeongchang - agencies

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Russia could refuse the offer to let its athletes compete without national identity or the playing of the Russian national anthem.

"Most of the accusations are based on facts that have not been proven and are largely unfounded", Putin said.

Another Olympics expert from the University of France-Comte, Eric Monnin, said the International Olympic Committee was "playing for its life and legitimacy" during the sordid state-sponsored doping affair, in which the global body also banned Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko from the Olympics for life.

United Nations ambassador Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyTrump's withdrawal from migration summit shows his nationalist colors US, South Sudan must stand together for peace Dems plan ambitious campaign for red-state governorships MORE said Wednesday there's still an "open question" as to whether the USA will send its athletes to South Korea in February for the Winter Olympics, citing escalating tensions with North Korea. 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.

The sport will stay on the 2020 Tokyo Olympic lineup, though with 64 fewer athletes and one men's event cut.

Travis Tygart CEO of the United States Anti-Doping Agency said: "Over the past three years, a high stakes game of chicken has been played between those willing to sacrifice the Olympic ideals by employing a state-directed doping program to cheat to win and, on the other side, athletes unwilling to stand silent while their hopes and dreams were stolen and the Olympic Games hijacked".

These athletes will participate under the name "Olympic Athlete from Russia", and their uniform will bear the Olympic flag.

Putin, who announced on Wednesday he would run in a Russian presidential election next year, said he had not instructed officials to deliver victory for the Russian team at the Sochi Games.

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"What matters is that the commission wrote in its conclusions that there was no system of state support of doping in Russian Federation".

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach speaks.

But given that the ban was not a blanket one, one expert, who wishes to remain anonymous, says the IOC's decision is fair as it gives the opportunity for a rehabilitated Russian Federation to rejoin the Olympic fold. In Sochi, he showered favors including luxury cars on Russian champions as the national team topped the medals table. "Then punish those who are guilty", Putin said.

The ministry added that it "expects the PyeongChang Winter Olympics to be a good opportunity to further strengthen the traditional friendly relationship between Korea and Russia, and to meet many Russian athletes".

The Kremlin leader said a final decision on Russia's stance regarding the IOC ban would be made at a meeting of Russian Olympic authorities in the coming days.

It said the IOC's actions proved that "you can destroy a whole Olympic country on the basis of indirect evidence and a single witness who was under a criminal investigation and has been treated in a psychiatric hospital".

Whether or not they compete under their own flag, ski jumping and Nordic combined seem unlikely to result in any medals for Russians.

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