Russia banned from 2018 Olympics for widespread doping program

The International Olympic Committee banned the Russian federation from the upcoming Winter Olympics on Tuesday but left the door open for individual Russian athletes to compete. In a historic act of punishment, Russia’s flag and anthem will be absent from February’s PyeongChang Games in South Korea as consequence for widespread doping Olympic officials believe was supported by the country’s government.

Russia’s doping program “represents an unprecedented attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games,” IOC President Thomas Bach said following Tuesday’s announcement.

Bach was joined Tuesday by Samuel Schmid, the former president of Switzerland, who led a commission investigating the allegations against Russia. Schmid’s report confirmed “the systemic manipulation of the anti-doping rules and system in Russia.”

Russian athletes who can prove their innocence of drug cheating will be permitted to compete under the designation of an “Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR),” the IOC announced in a news release. The Olympic Anthem will be played in any ceremony for medals won by these athletes.

Russian lawmakers and other officials quickly rejected the IOC decision, saying it was influenced by politics.

“We won’t apologize,” Pyotr Tolstoy, a leading member of the Russian State Duma, Russia’s lower house of legislature, said in remarks broadcast on Channel One, a state-funded television station. “We won’t apologize to Bach, to the former president of Switzerland, who prepared this

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