Russian athletes barred from marching under their flag

Nadezhda Sergeeva

Pyeongchang: Olympics chief Thomas Bach denied the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics had been "tainted" by the Russian doping scandal as officials voted to keep Russia's suspension in place for the closing ceremony on Sunday.

At the closing ceremony, Russians will have to parade in a grey Olympic Athletes from Russia uniform under the Olympic flag, instead of marching down under the white, blue and red tricolor as Team Russia.

Krushelnitckii and his wife and curling partner, Anastasia Bryzgalova, gave back their bronze medals, after he tested positive to meldonium.

IOC President Thomas Bach said a condition of Russia's ban being lifted was that no further positive drug tests come out of Pyeongchang.

"The IOC executive board decided first not to lift the suspension of the Russian Olympic Committee for the closing ceremony", Bach said, "therefore, no delegation of the Russian Olympic Committee will have taken part in these Olympic Winter Games".

The vote to maintain the ban for the time being followed a recommendation from the IOC's executive board, which met Saturday and early Sunday to thrash out Russia's fate.

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"Despite a good collaboration from the OAR delegation to respond to these (doping) cases in a prompt and transparent way, the implementation group was convinced that these cases caused significant concern", said Hoevertsz, who is from Aruba.

"We have to draw a line and look towards the future", Hoevertsz said. "It is never going to be business as usual any more in the world of sport and in Russian Federation".

On December 5, 2017, the IOC suspended the Russian Olympic Committee over alleged violations of anti-doping rules, particularly during the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games.

The OAR team won 17 medals in South Korea, including two golds.

He alleged the country ran a systematic programme of doping and claimed he had created substances to enhance athletes' performances and switched urine samples to avoid detection.

Russia's Olympic suspension has been lifted with immediate effect, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced.

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Letting them do so would be the IOC's "worst decision", he said.

In a statement issued Sunday night, WADA said it "acknowledges" the IOC's latest move but pointed out that Russian Federation is still not adhering to the World Anti-Doping Code.

The IOC stores test samples for a decade when new science can detect cheating, but Bach said Russian Federation would not have to wait that long for reinstatement.

"In light of the situation, we consider that the restoration of the rights of the ROC and all Russian athletes will be the main result of the Olympic Games that are ending today", it added. Participation of OAR athletes at the closing ceremony was not being considered until the last minute.

"Some athletes stayed behind later with the hope that they would be walking under the Russian flag".

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