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2ND LEAD Russia returns to Olympic fold as suspension lifted By Peter Spinella, dpa

Europe, Europa
28.02.2018
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Moscow (dpa) - Russia has been reinstated as a member of the Olympic family after its suspension for doping offences was lifted, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) confirmed Wednesday.

Russian athletes competed at the recent Winter Games in Pyeongchang as neutrals after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) suspended the country in December for doping practices and the "systematic manipulation" of the anti-doping programme at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.

"The final notification of all remaining test results from the Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR) delegation has been received from the Doping-Free Sport Unit (DFSU)," an IOC spokesman said in a statement.

"The IOC can confirm that all the remaining results are negative.

"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 lifting of the suspension was revealed earlier Wednesday by Russian Olympic Committee president Alexander Zhukov in comments carried by the Russian state news agency TASS.

"This means that the Russian Olympic Committee has been completely restored within its rights," he said.

The IOC permitted 168 Russian athletes to compete at the Pyeongchang Winter Games, which closed Sunday, under a neutral flag and without Russian symbols.

After two Russian athletes tested positive for doping at the Games in South Korea, the IOC declined to reinstate the country in time for the closing ceremony but said the ban would be lifted automatically if no further Russians returned positive samples.

IOC president Thomas Bach said in South Korea that the two doping cases, involving mixed doubles curling bronze medallist Alexandr Krushelnitckii and bobsledder Nadezhda Sergeeva, "played the major role in coming to the decision in not lifting the suspension."

However, the Russian delegation in Pyeongchang insisted the pair were isolated cases and not part of the broader doping regime.

The executive board of the IOC heard a report from an implementation group, chaired by Aruba‘s Nicole Hoevertsz, in Pyeongchang which looked into all aspects of the Russian delegation‘s appearance at the Games before making its decision on the ban just hours before the closing ceremony was due to begin.

It commended athletes and officials for their behaviour and adherence to the December guidelines by the IOC, and also noted that a 15-million dollar fine was paid in full by February 20.

 

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