Putin will allow Russians to compete at Pyeongchang Olympics

Putin will allow Russians to compete at Pyeongchang Olympics

Putin will allow Russians to compete at Pyeongchang Olympics

Though Russian Olympians will not be allowed to compete under their flag, Putin said that he will not prevent athletes from competing in a "personal capacity" in the upcoming Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

The punishment is the culmination of a three-year investigation into state-sponsored doping leading up to and during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

"As a former athlete I am feeling very sorry for all the clean athletes who are suffering from this manipulation. but because we are allowing clean athletes to participate they can set about building a bridge for the future (rather) than erecting a new wall between Russian Federation and the Olympic movement".

"Most of the accusations are based on facts that have not been proven and are largely unfounded", Putin said.

Putin and Peskov spoke after ideas of a boycott - and perhaps the resuscitation of a version of the Goodwill Games - circulated in Russia after Tuesday's news that the IOC had suspended the Russian Olympic Committee over a widespread and complex doping program.

Although Russian athletes will be allowed to compete in Pyeongchang under the Olympic flag, and under strict conditions, the move to exclude a country over doping by the IOC on Tuesday was unprecedented.

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Russian athletes or teams will participate under the name "Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR)", ESPN reported.

Speaking to reporters after a speech to automobile plant workers in Nizhny Novgorod where he announced he would run for a fourth presidential term next year, Putin said the International Olympic Committee decision was politically motivated.

In a detail unlikely to impress the International Olympic Committee, a former athlete banned in the Sochi doping investigation, Alexander Zubkov, is now in charge of the Russian Bobsled Federation and will oversee athletes' preparation.

"I think that this excuse was not used in an honest way, to put it mildly", Putin said without elaborating.

She said the IOC choice of "Olympic Athletes from Russia" as the official designation, instead of a more neutral tag, decided the issue for her.

"What matters is that the commission wrote in its conclusions that there was no system of state support of doping in Russian Federation".

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IOC President Thomas Bach said: "Today we gave the Russian delegation the opportunity to express themselves".

Ahead of the IOC's decision, NPR's Lucian Kim visited Moscow's famous Gorky Park to hear what Russians are making of the claims against their country in some of its most revered sports.

If Russian athletes skip Pyeongchang, it will mark the first time the Olympic superpower did not compete since 1984, when the Soviet Union rallied 14 communist countries in a boycott of the Los Angeles Olympics in response to an American-led protest of the 1980 games in Moscow. "Will Russia be at the Olympics but without a flag?"

"Russia has been punished, including the government in the guise of Mutko, but there exists a way out for those athletes who have nothing to do with this".

It is now likely that a number of Russian champion athletes will compete.

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