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IOC bans Russia from Winter Olympics for doping

Scott McLaughlin
December 05, 2017 - 2:07 pm

The International Olympic Committee announced Tuesday that it has banned the Russian Olympic Committee from participating in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea as punishment for the country's systematic doping program.

Russian athletes who have gone through rigorous drug testing and been deemed clean will be allowed to compete under a neutral flag, but there will be no Russian flags or officials allowed at the Games.

The doping scandal has previously resulted in Russia being stripped of some of its medals from the 2014 Sochi Games, some Russian athletes being banned from the Olympics for life, and limitations being placed on the number of Russians who were allowed to compete in the 2016 Summer Olympics.

It remains to be seen how Vladimir Putin and Russian officials will respond to the ban and whether they will allow any Russian athletes to go, even as neutrals.

One thing to keep an eye on is what this means for the men's hockey tournament, which will already be depleted due to the NHL not allowing its players to compete. Russia's Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) had already threatened to prevent its players from competing if Russia were to be banned. With the NHL not going, the KHL was expected to one of the biggest pools from which to pull Olympic players -- not just for Russia, but for the U.S., Canada and others as well. Russia was also projected to be the tournament favorite.

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