Europe

IOC bans Russia from 2018 Winter Olympics

Russia's Olympic Committee (ROC) has been banned from the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics next year after the prolonged doping scandal.

The Australian Olympic Commitee (AOC) has agreed with the International Olympic Committee's decision to ban Russia from sending a team to the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Some Russian athletes will be allowed to compete at Pyeongchang 2018 in certain circumstances under the name "Olympic Athlete from Russia" and will compete in uniform bearing that name, the IOC said.

The decision was reached after the IOC's 14-strong executive board received a recommendation from a disciplinary commission set up to investigate claims Russia conducted a state-sponsored doping programme that culminated at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi.

Australia has welcomed the decision to prevent the ROC sending a team to Pyeongchang.

International Olympic Committee, IOC, President Thomas Bach from Germany, left, and Samuel Schmid, President of the IOC Inquiry Commission and former President of Switzerland, right, comment during a press conference after an Executive Board meeting.
International Olympic Committee, IOC, President Thomas Bach from Germany, left, and Samuel Schmid, President of the IOC Inquiry Commission.
AAP

"This is an appropriate and considered response by the IOC, punishing those involved in the blatant cheating ... while allowing clean athletes to compete in Pyeongchang," Australian Olympic Committee chef de mission Ian Chesterman said in a statement on Wednesday.

The IOC also decided to suspend ROC president Alexander Zhukov as an IOC member given that his membership is linked to his position as ROC President.

Most of the indignation in Russia came from the presidents of winter sports federations, who slammed a decision they said was unjustified and demeaning.

"The IOC decision is offensive and insulting. It is completely unjustified," Alexei Kravtsov, president of the Russian Skating Union, said.

His counterpart at the Russian curling federation, lawmaker Dmitry Svishchev, accused the IOC of having succumbed to external pressure when making its decision.

"I consider that the IOC's decision is unprofessional," Svishchev said. "I am profoundly convinced that it was made under pressure. Someone needed Russia not to participate in the Games."

No accreditations to the Games would be given to the Russian ministry of sport, the IOC also announced and gave Vitaly Mutko, former Sports Minister and now Deputy Prime Minister, a life ban from the Olympics.

In response, Russian state television said on it would not broadcast the Games in the absence of Russia's national team.

The IOC's decision comes 18 months after it had refused an outright ban of Russian athletes at the 2016 Rio 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 per cent 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.

IOC president Thomas Bach said: "This was an unprecedented attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games and sport.

"The IOC EB (executive board), after following due process, has issued proportional sanctions for this systemic manipulation while protecting the clean athletes.

"This should draw a line under this damaging episode and serve as a catalyst for a more effective anti-doping system led by WADA."

Russian state television holding VGTRK said on Tuesday it would not broadcast the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in the absence of Russia's national team, Interfax news agency reported.

The President of Russia's Olympic Committee, Alexander Zhukov, said on Tuesday that Russian athletes will appeal the International Olympic Committee (IOC) ban from the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), R-Sport news agency reported.

Winter Olympic sports bodies and athletes have started releasing statements regarding the monumental decision.