The International Olympic Committee has voted not to lift the suspension of Russia before the closing ceremony of PyeongChang Winter Olympics, prohibiting Russian athletes from appearing under their national tricolor.
Full IOC membership unanimously voted in favor of the Executive Board’s recommendation to uphold the ban on Russia until after the 2018 Winter Olympics.
“The IOC Executive Board decided first not to lift the suspension of the Russian Olympic Committee for the closing ceremony,” IOC President Thomas Bach said. “Therefore, no delegation of the Russian Olympic Committee will have taken part in these Olympic Winter Games.”
However, the IOC commission did recommend lifting the disqualification of the Russian Olympic Committee [ROC] as soon as possible, if the remainder of the test samples of Russian athletes come out clean.
“The Implementation Group recommends lifting the Russian Olympic Committee’s suspension once all results of the doping tests of the OAR athletes during the Olympic Winter Games of PyeongChang 2018 have been confirmed as negative,” Chair of the Olympic Athlete from Russia Implementation Group (OAR IG), Nicole Hoevertsz said Sunday.
The IOC commission stated that Russian anti-doping rules violations (ADRV) committed during the 2018 Winter Olympics do not show any pattern and were committed on individual bases. Previously, bobsledder Nadezhda Sergeeva and curler Alexander Krushelnitsky tested positive for doping at PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics. “Based on the results available, the Implementation Group noted that these ADRVs were individual and isolated cases that did not show a pattern of systematic and organized doping activity,” Hoevertsz told the IOC session.
Russian curler Alexander Krushelnitsky and his wife Anastasia Bryzgalova were stripped of their bronze medals in mixed doubles on Thursday after Krushelnitsky’s samples tested positive for meldonium, banned in 2016 by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) as a performance-enhancing drug.
Repeatedly tested negative for any forbidden WADA substances, with the latest check passed January 22, the 25-year-old continues to maintain his innocence, stating that only a “complete absence of common sense” would prompt an athlete to start doping in the lead-up to the Olympic Games. With the inventor of meldonium saying a single dose of the drug gives hardly any benefit, and even less so to a curler, an investigation has been launched into whether Krushelnitsky’s food or drink could have been spiked.
On Saturday the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) also disqualified Russian bobsledder Nadezhda Sergeeva for violating doping rules after trimetazidine was found in her sample. Sergeeva’s 12th place result in the two-woman bobsled competition with her teammate, Anastasia Kocherzhova, was annulled.
On December 5, the IOC banned the entire Russian national team from taking part in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, over allegations of mass doping violations. The committee banned the display of the Russian flag and prohibited the athletes from marching as a national team at the opening ceremony. Participation of OAR athletes at the closing ceremony was not being considered until the last minute.
“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,” Bach said. “Subject to continued compliance of December 5, the suspension of the ROC is considered to be lifted once it is confirmed there are no additional doping cases by members of the OAR delegation.”
Only 169 individual Russian athletes received invitations to compete in the Winter Olympic games after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) dismissed appeals filed by dozens of athletes who were not invited to the games, despite never in their lives failing a doping test. At the closing ceremony, Russians will have to parade in a grey Olympic Athletes from Russia uniform under the Olympic flag, instead of marching down under the white, blue and red tricolor as Team Russia.