Published: Thu, December 07, 2017
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

Capitals superstar Ovechkin believes Russians should still participate in the Olympics

Capitals superstar Ovechkin believes Russians should still participate in the Olympics

The IOC said its decision was based on evidence of a state-sponsored and systematic manipulation of anti-doping procedures by Moscow during the 2014 Sochi Games.

Although Russian athletes will be allowed to compete in Pyeongchang under the Olympic flag, and under strict conditions, the move to exclude a country over doping by the IOC on Tuesday was unprecedented.

Putin and Peskov spoke after ideas of a boycott - and perhaps the resuscitation of a version of the Goodwill Games - circulated in Russia after Tuesday's news that the IOC had suspended the Russian Olympic Committee over a widespread and complex doping program.

The ban was imposed on Tuesday; one day later, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he wouldn't stand in any athlete's way if they choose to compete as neutral Olympians. 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 struggling Winter Olympics, an event no nation really wants to host and which lacks the global appeal of the Summer Olympics, will suffer without the Russian contingent.

Of the growing number of athletes who have been stripped of their medals, Bach said the International Olympic Committee is looking at how to give clean athletes who are elevated to the podium the recognition they deserve months and years after they competed.

Bach said he had not spoken with Putin since the sanctions were announced, and suggested Russian athletes and sports leaders would meet Tuesday to discuss competing in Pyeongchang. In Sochi, he showered favors including luxury cars on Russian champions as the national team topped the medals table.

Nevertheless, the IOC President Thomas Bach "left the door open for Russia" by allowing athletes to participate in some form, even with the word "Russia" on their uniforms, the newspaper wrote.

The head of Russia's Olympic Committee, Alexander Zhukov, told the IOC that punishing clean athletes was "unjust and immoral". Putin has called the doping charges against Russian Federation "a risky return to this policy of letting politics interfere with sport".

Ahead of the IOC's decision, NPR's Lucian Kim visited Moscow's famous Gorky Park to hear what Russians are making of the claims against their country in some of its most revered sports.

The IOC says the OAR team will be picked by a panel of anti-doping and medical officials from various organizations. "Then punish those who are guilty", Putin said.

There could be outside medal chances for "Olympic Athletes from Russia" in freestyle skiing, luge and women's curling.

Given that the allegations about Russia's plan to sabotage the anti-doping system at Sochi 2014 have now been corroborated by two International Olympic Committee commissions and a World Anti-Doping Agency-funded investigation, the Russian athletes' chances of overturning their disqualifications look slim, as do their hopes of competing in Pyeongchang.

The IOC has stripped 11 medals from Russia's tally in Sochi so far over the doping.

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