LAUSANNE, Switzerland – Russians won’t compete in the Pyeongchang Olympics under their own flag, if they compete at all, following a decision from the International Olympic Committee on Tuesday.
The IOC’s executive board announced that it has suspended the Russian Olympic Committee, a move that effectively bans the country almost two months before the opening of the Games, but created a path for individuals to compete as neutral athletes.
Those athletes will be designated as “Olympic Athletes from Russia,” and wear a uniform with that designation. They will compete under the Olympic flag and the Olympic anthem will play at any ceremony.
“As an athlete myself, I am feeling very sorry for all the clean athletes from all (National Olympic Committees) who are suffering from this manipulation,” said IOC President Thomas Bach.
He continued, “This decision should draw a line under this damaging episode and serve as a catalyst for a more effective and more robust anti-doping system led by WADA.”
The decision marked the first such sanction by the IOC for doping.