IOC decides not to lift Russian ban at Winter Olympics

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The International Olympic Committee has voted unanimously against lifting the ban of Russia from the Pyeongchang Winter Games.

It means the 168 athletes competing as “Olympic Athletes from Russia” (OAR) will not be able to march under their country’s flag at Sunday’s closing ceremony.

IOC President Thomas Bach said a condition of Russia’s ban being lifted is that no further positive drug tests come out of the Pyeongchang Games.

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A Russian fan looks on at the Pyeongchang Olympics

Two of the four athletes who tested positive in Pyeongchang were Russian, including a curler who had to return his bronze medal.

“The IOC executive board decided first not to lift the suspension of the Russian Olympic Committee for the closing ceremony,” Mr Bach said.

“Therefore, no delegation of the Russian Olympic Committee will have taken part in these Olympic Winter Games.”

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Great Britain's Isabel Atkin competes in a run of the women's ski slopestyle final event during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Phoenix Park in Pyeongchang on February 17, 2018 IOC decides not to lift Russian ban at Winter Olympics IOC decides not to lift Russian ban at Winter Olympics skynews isabel atkin izzy atkin 4233337

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Russia was banned in December from taking part in Pyeongchang following revelations of widespread doping at the 2014 Sochi Games.

But 168 athletes deemed doping-free were allowed to compete as neutrals at this year’s Games.

IOC member Nicole Hoevertsz from Aruba and head of the Russia implementation group said the Russian delegation met many of the criteria required for reinstatement during the Olympics.

However, he said the two failed drug tests were too much.

“Despite a good collaboration from the OAR delegation to respond to these (doping) cases in a prompt and transparent way, the implementation group was convinced that these cases caused significant concern,” Mr Hoevertsz said.


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Dec 2017: Russia banned from 2018 Winter Olympics

Meanwhile, a high-level delegation of North Korean officials has arrived in Pyeongchang to attend the closing ceremony later.

North Korean officials were not expected to travel to the Games until Kim Jong Un announced on New Year’s Day that he wanted to send a team.

Ivanka Trump, the US President’s daughter, will also attend the closing ceremony after two days of visiting venues and meeting American athletes

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Ivanka Trump (centre) poses with Team USA members

“I’m so excited to be here. It’s just so incredibly inspiring,” she said.

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“It’s been an amazing couple of days, and such an honour and privilege to be here with our allies in South Korea and celebrate all that we’ve accomplished as a culture, a society economically and, of course, in sport.”

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