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The IOC's executive board announced that it has suspended the Russian Olympic Committee, a move that effectively bans the country nearly two months before the opening of the Games, but created a path for individuals to compete as neutral athletes.

The suspension follows a report of findings by the International Olympic Committee, led by the former President of Switzerland, Samuel Schmid, that address the systematic manipulation of the anti-doping system in Russian Federation.

The absence of Russian athletes would sap many events of top competitors.

In an embarrassment for Russia's hosting of the 2018 World Cup, the International Olympic Committee also banned Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko from the Olympics for life.

He was formerly sports minister and continuously denied state-backed doping was going on. Russian President Vladimir Putin has previously said it would be humiliating to compete without national symbols. If, for some reason, a Russian athlete is permitted to compete in the Games, they won't be doing it as a Russian athlete, but in a neutral uniform. The IOC also fined the Russian committee $15 million to pay for the doping investigation.

According to reports, Russian officials have refused to accept the findings of the McLaren Report from the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Russian athletes will compete at the PyeongChang Olympics, but only under terms set by the IOC. As a result, no official from the Russian Ministry of Sport for the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 will be accredited.

Mutko, who was also banned from the Rio 2016 Summer Games, had been implicated in the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency)-commissioned McLaren report.

Russian Federation has repeatedly refused to accept that a state-sponsored doping program existed.

Tuesday's punishment will invite criticism from some anti-doping organizations that had called for a blanket ban of all Russian athletes. He said that the committee's executive board, "after following due process, has issued proportional sanctions for this systemic manipulation while protecting the clean athletes". We salute whistleblower Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, who risked so much to tell this story, and support all those who are willing to speak truth to power.

Russian officials reacted to the decision by attacking it as unfair. The IOC also dismissed Dmitry Chernyshenko, former CEO of the Organizing Committee Sochi 2014, from the Coordination Commission Beijing 2022. So far the figure stands at 25 athletes, with 11 medals stripped.


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