The IOC voted to uphold Russia’s Olympic suspension over new doping violations, preventing the nearly 170 Russian athletes from marching under their own flag in the closing ceremony at PyeongChang 2018.
The decision came just hours before the ceremony, and follows two cases of alleged doping involving Russian athletes at the PyeongChang Games. The athletes have been competing as neutral athletes in South Korea, as the nation’s Olympic status remains suspended.
The IOC had punished Russian athletes before these Games for the alleged state-backed doping programme overshadowing the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Decision on reinstatement delayed
Bronze medal-winning curler Alexander Krushelnitsky and bobsledder Nadezhda Sergeeva failed doping tests, despite the team having undergone rigorous testing before the Games in order to prove they are clean.
At the Games the athletes have been participating under the name Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR). They were not allowed to wear national team uniforms and their anthem was not played at medal ceremonies.
Speaking at the IOC’s executive board meeting in PyeongChang, IOC President Thomas Bach said:
“The IOC would have considered lifting the suspension because the OAR delegation has respected the December 5 decision. However, two athletes failed doping tests here in Pyeongchang. This was hugely disappointing and prevented the IOC lifting the suspension.”