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Russia banned from 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea

Russia has been banned from taking part in the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea due to concerns over doping.

However, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has said that individual “Russian clean athletes” will still be able to compete as neutral athletes at the Games in Pyeongchang from 9-25 February next year.

Banning an entire country from the Games is an unprecedented move for the IOC.

The president of the Russian skating union has described the decision as offensive and insulting.

The IOC has also banned Russian deputy prime minister Vitaly Mutko from the Olympic movement for life.

He was formerly sports minister and continuously denied state-backed doping was going on.

The politician is currently head of the organising committee for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Russian deputy PM and former sports minister Vitaly Mutko has been banned from all Olympic Games for life. He remains head of the World Cup 2018 organising committee
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Russian deputy PM and former sports minister Vitaly Mutko has been banned from all Olympic Games for life. He remains head of the World Cup 2018 organising committee

His then deputy minister, Yuri Nagornykh has also been banned for life from any future Olympic Games.

A 17 month doping investigation headed up by former Swiss president Samuel Schmid found there was “the systemic manipulation of the anti-doping rules and system in Russia”.

No official from the Russian Ministry of Sport will be allowed accreditation for the Pyeongchang Games, the committee ruled.

The Russian Olympic Committee has also been ordered to pay $15 million (£11.2m) to the IOC for the cost of the investigation and to strengthen the global anti-doping system.

Several Russian athletes have been stripped of their medals over the past few years, which allowed British bobsleigh racer John Jackson to be awarded a retrospective bronze medal last month from the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

Russian figure skating coach Tatiana Tarasova said the decision was offensive and insulting
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Russian figure skating coach Tatiana Tarasova said the decision was offensive and insulting

Russia was nearly banned from the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) found “beyond reasonable doubt” the Russian Ministry of Sport and its Olympic preparation team had allowed state-funded doping.

Just weeks before the Games started in Brazil on August 5 the IOC announced Russian athletes would only be eligible to compete if they could prove they had not been doping before the Games.

A total of 111 athletes were barred from competing while 278 were cleared by the IOC.

The entire Russian Paralympic team was banned from Rio.

IOC President, and former Olympic fencer, Thomas Bach, said: “This was an unprecedented attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games and sport.

“The IOC Executive Board, after following due process, has issued proportional sanctions for this systemic manipulation while protecting the clean athletes.

The decision was made at the International Olympic Committee's HQ in Switzerland
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The decision was made at the International Olympic Committee’s HQ in Switzerland

“This should draw a line under this damaging episode and serve as a catalyst for a more effective anti-doping system led by WADA.

“As an athlete myself, I feel very sorry for all the clean athletes from all National Olympic Committees who are suffering from this manipulation.

“Working with the IOC Athletes’ Commission, we will now look for opportunities to make up for the moments they have missed on the finish line or on the podium.”

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