IOC reinstates Russian Olympic Committee

Following the rapid developments just before the 2018 Winter Olympics, on Wednesday, the International Olympic Committee confirmed the reinstatement of the banned Russian Olympic Committee after the remaining doping tests of the athletes who participated in PyeongChang came back negative.

IOC had suspended ROC after it found on December evidence of an “unprecedented systematic manipulation” of the anti-doping system during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, and as such the athletes participated as neutrals under the title “Olympic Athletes from Russia” in South Korea, and only after fulfilling a strict set of criteria.

Prior to the Games they had to prove they were clean. However, 2 out 168 athletes, namely medal-winning curler Alexander Krushelnitsky and bobsledder Nadezhda Sergeeva, failed their drug tests again and as a result IOC was waiting on the last results before announcing its decision.

This decision effectively means that from now on can compete under the Russian flag and wear a national team uniform, while the national anthem can be played at gold medal ceremonies. Furthermore, Russian officials will be able to participate in all IOC meetings.

ROC President Alexander Zhukov on state television stated: “The Russian Olympic Committee has had its rights fully restored. It’s a decision of the utmost importance for us.”

In spite of that, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in a statement on Wednesday noted that that Russia remained non-compliant with its code “as it has not yet met the necessary criteria of RUSADA’s (Russian Anti-Doping Agency’s) Roadmap to Compliance, following Russia’s proven systemic manipulation of the doping control process.” As a result, Russia still remains suspended fro world athletics in general.

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