Russian flag, anthem banned from Pyeongchang Olympics

IOC suspends Russian NOC and creates a path for clean individual athletes to compete in PyeongChang 2018 under the Olympic Flag

Russian flag, anthem banned from Pyeongchang Olympics

Russia's Olympic team has been banned from the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea for systematic doping.

Some had feared a repeat performance from the International Olympic Committee on Tuesday, despite a second report by McLaren in December 2016 which confirmed that more than 1,000 Russian athletes had been involved in, or benefited from, state-sponsored doping.

IOC President Thomas Bach is scheduled to announce the 14-member board's decision at 7:30 p.m. (1830 GMT) Tuesday. They can not wear Russian uniforms or fly the Russian flag; if they win a gold medal in their respective event, the Olympic anthem will play as they climb the podium.

Numerous same Russians banned from the 2018 Games also had medals retroactively removed from their 2014 Sochi Games competition as part of International Olympic Committee sanctions.

More on this as it develops.

President Vladimir V. Putin seemed to be predicting a boycott of the Pyeongchang Games, since his foreign policy in recent years has been based on the premise that he has rescued Russian Federation from the humiliation inflicted on it by the West after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The IOC decision allows for the inclusion of teams, but all athletes on the roster would have to be approved individually by the aforementioned process.

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At the time the IOC's reasoning was that it did not have time to look over the report fully, or verify all of WADA's claims. "The IOC needs to take control of the situation, rather than allow the Russians to pre-empt it by walking away".

Speaking about the IOC's newly enhanced pre-Games testing programme, Budgett said: "Russian athletes have been tested more than any other country by a considerable margin". The report found more than 1,000 athletes were involved in the scheme.

The Russian anthem will not be played. Thus far, they have been ordered to return 11 medals, but in August six of the disqualified athletes told Reuters that they failed to do so.

Russian sports ministry officials have apologized for widespread doping among their athletes, but forcefully have denied allegations of government involvement and painted Rodchenkov as a rogue actor.

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.

This is the one step harsher than what the International Olympic Committee did for the 2016 Summer Games but far less than the full ban that many athletes and sport bodies were calling for.

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