Russian Federation 'will not bar athletes' from Games

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Now leading United States skiers Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin have joined the chorus of those backing the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) decision to ban the country from next year's Winter Olympics. His anger should be weighed against those of athletes who lost opportunities to stand on the podium because of Russian cheating. More than a few rubles have been bet that the Russian flag (and maybe some new uniforms proudly shouting "Rossiya") will be on the scene before the end of the Olympics. Throughout the Cold War, Soviet bloc competitors were dogged by doping allegations, and they were periodically proven but usually well after the fact. Athletes from around the world, including a few from Alaska, made their opinions known following the ban announcement. "Some athletes work out for maybe three years to get ready for the Olympics".

It slammed the decision as "very harsh and in some ways even humiliating for Russian Federation", citing the life bans on attending the Games for ex-Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, now deputy prime minister. Those allegations prompted WADA and the International Olympic Committee to launch two more investigations, both of which confirmed Rodchenkov's charges.

Headed by former Switzerland president Samuel Schmid, the probe was completed in 17 months. In all, it is estimated that more than 1,000 Russian athletes competing in more than 30 sports have been involved in doping since at least 2011.

Moscow would not prevent its athletes from competing at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics if they wanted to, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. "What criteria the International Olympic Committee will use to invite our athletes, how the process will go and so on", Peskov said. He called the International Olympic Committee ruling "politically motivated" and unfair "collective punishment".

Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov, writing on his Telegram social networking page, warned that "not one athlete living in Chechnya will participate under a neutral flag". It is a noble sentiment, but those athletes can not be made whole.

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The ban also entails that Russian officials can not attend the event and the flag will not be displayed during the opening ceremony.

"As the president said yesterday while expressing his view of the situation surrounding the IOC's decision, the reason is that there are still a lot of unanswered questions". He repeated denials that any state sponsored doping programme had existed in Russian Federation.

A presidential spokesmen dismissed the charges as a "groundless crackdown", and Putin had earlier called the prospect of Russian athletes competing as neutrals without a national team "humiliating".

They'll instead compete under the name "Olympic Athlete from Russia" (OAR), and the Olympic anthem will be played at any medal ceremonies for Russian athletes. But the Russian government has not gone as far as to declare a boycott of the Games; it might try to convince high-profile athletes to withdraw from competition for propaganda purposes, but it will not stop or pull funding for those who want to go.

He added that it would not be a priority to hold Russian officials responsible.

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