A Russian supporter waves a flag before the preliminary round of the men’s hockey game between the team from Russia and the United States at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) A Russian supporter waves a flag before the preliminary round of the men’s hockey game between the team from Russia and the United States at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Russia’s Olympic ban lifted after doping scandal

Russia reinstated into Olympic movement despite two failed doping tests at Pyeongchang

Russia’s ban from the Olympic movement was lifted on Wednesday despite two failed doping tests by its athletes at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

The decision by the International Olympic Committee appears to be an attempt to draw a line under the state-concocted doping scandal that tarnished the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.

The IOC allowed more than 160 athletes it determined were clean to compete in Sochi as “Olympic Athletes from Russia” in Pyeongchang earlier this month with a prohibition on the national anthem or flag in venues.

Russia’s hopes of marching under its flag at Sunday’s closing ceremony in South Korea were stymied by the two positive tests for banned substances, including a curler who had to forfeit his bronze medal. But the IOC said Wednesday that all remaining test results were negative, clearing the path for Russia’s return to the Olympic fold.

“Therefore, as stated in the executive board decision of 25th February, the suspension of the Russian Olympic Committee is automatically lifted with immediate effect,” the IOC said in a statement.

Related: Second Russian athlete tests positive for doping at Olympics

Russian athletes won two gold medals in Pyeongchang, in figure skating and ice hockey, along with six silver medals and nine bronze.

“I would like to thank our athletes who were able to perform well even despite the provocations,” Russian Olympic Committee President Alexander Zhukov said in quotes carried by the TASS news agency. “I thank the fans who did not cross the line and what could result in sanctions. Today’s IOC’s decision is very important for us. The ROC is an absolutely full-fledged member of the Olympic family.”

Russia also complied with its financial sanctions last week by paying $15 million to pay for the IOC’s two investigations into the scheme and toward future anti-doping work.

Vitaly Smirnov, the head of an anti-doping commission set up by Russian President Vladimir Putin, did acknowledge on Wednesday that “we have a long way to go to get rid of the mistakes, which we made in the past.”

But Russia continues to deny there was state involvement in the plot, which included urine samples in supposedly tamper-proof bottles at the 2014 Olympics being swapped out for clean samples through a “mouse hole” in the wall at a laboratory in Sochi.

The IOC decision to reinstate Russia has no bearing on the International Paralympic Committee’s earlier ruling to maintain the country’s ban. The only Russians at the March 8-18 Pyeongchang Games will be known as “Neutral Paralympic Athletes,” mirroring the IOC’s compromise.

Related: Russian athlete suspected of doping at PyeongChang Olympics

Rob Harris, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Nanaimo city council will reconsider waterfront walkway plan

Project included in financial plan but councillors want to examine scope and timelines

Crime in Nanaimo leads to ‘explosion’ of interest in Block Watch

Nanaimo and Lantzville area now has more than 100 chapters

Dover Bay Secondary School staging a production of the musical ‘Oliver!’

Attendees are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food donation

Nanaimo council faces taxpayer questions about budget

Preliminary 2019 budget now includes potential tax increase of 5.08 per cent

Winds of up to 90 km/hr forecasted to hit Vancouver Island

Environment Canada is warning that loose objects may cause damage

Nanaimo’s Discontent City being bulldozed

City crews on scene cleaning up, no access to the site allowed

Customers at new Quality Foods finding spare change for Coins for Kids

Charity getting a boost from new bigger, busier Harewood location

Chamber wants to know about Nanaimo’s best Christmas light displays

Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce, News Bulletin partner on Spirit of Christmas Light Up

Prosecution in Colin John murder trial wrapping up in Duncan

John on trial for stabbing death in Chemainus in 2016

RCMP ‘desperate’ for clues in case of missing Parksville mom

Carmel Gilmour was last seen more than a year ago

Famous giant tortoise DNA may hold fountain of youth: UCBO

After Lonesome George’s death he still provides clues to longer life

Oogie Boogie, Sandy Claws and coffin sleigh part of B.C. couple’s holiday display

Chilliwack couple decorates their house for the holidays using Nightmare Before Christmas theme

First Nation sues Alberta, says oilsands project threatens sacred site

Prosper Petroleum’s $440-million, 10,000-barrel-a-day plans have been vigorously opposed by Fort McKay

North Okanagan site of first RCMP naloxone test project

Free kits, training to be provided to high-risk individuals who spend time in cell blocks

Most Read