By Karolos Grohmann
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (Reuters) – Russia has been banned from the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics after evidence emerged of widespread doping but some of its athletes will be allowed to compete under the tag of “Olympic Athlete of Russia”, the IOC said on Tuesday.
The International Olympic Committee also decided to suspend Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) president Alexander Zhukov as an IOC member given that his membership is linked to his position as chief of the ROC who have been suspended from the Games.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko was also banned from any future participation at the Olympic Games.
The IOC told a news conference that the Schmid report confirmed “the systematic manipulation of the anti-doping rules and system in Russia.”
Samuel Schmid, author of the report, told journalists: “The results are not based only on (whistleblower) Grigoory Rodchenkov’s testimony. There is scientific evidence, witness statements documents and correspondence.
“The facts are that in Russia there was systemic manipulation of doping and the anti-doping system … that also took place at Sochi 2014 (Winter Olympics).”
The IOC’s decision comes 18 months after it had refused an outright ban of Russian athletes at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics and told international sports federations to decide individually on the participation of Russians in Brazil.
While all the track and field athletes bar one and the entire weightlifting team were banned from Rio, around 70 percent of Russia’s original 387-strong squad ended up taking part at those Games.
Tuesday’s decision, however, looks to have taken into account growing vocal protests from other countries, major national anti-doping agencies and individual athletes who felt they had been robbed by their Russian opponents for years and had demanded a full suspension of Russia.
(Writing by Mitch Phillips in London; Additional reporting by Brian Homewood, Editing by Ken Ferris)
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