Despite the International Olympic Committee’s decision, the door has been left open for Russians to compete as an “Olympic Athlete of Russia”, as long as they satisfy strict conditions
Russia has been barred from participation in the 2018 Winter Olympics after the International Olympic Committee found evidence of what it described as “unprecedented systematic manipulation” of the anti-doping system, a finding it cited after suspending the country’s athletes in recent months.
The IOC didn’t impose a blanket ban on Russia ahead of the Rio 2016 Summer Games but said the evidence unearthed before the Summer Games by the Schmid Commission made the doping situation impossible to dispute.
It, therefore, suspended Russia —which finished top of the medals table at its own 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi— from next year’s games in South Korea’s Pyeongchang that run from February 9-25.
However, in a bid to protect “innocent athletes” the door has been left open for Russians to compete as an “Olympic Athlete of Russia”, as long as they satisfy strict conditions and they have no previous penalties or disqualifications for doping and pass all pre-Games targeted doping tests.
Alexei Kravtsov, president of the Russian Skating Union, was furious, calling the decision “offensive, insulting and completely unjustified.
“I consider that this decision will deal a great blow to the whole Olympic movement (which) has discredited itself and there will be fundamental consequences to this.
“These are not the principles of Olympism. I can’t say that the activities of the IOC are honest.”