International Olympic Committee uphold ban; Russians can't march with flag

Anna Shokhina was cleared of wrongdoing by the IOC Disciplinary Commission in December following an investigation into alleged doping at Sochi 2014

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The IOC suspended Russia from the Winter Olympics in December following allegations of state-sponsored doping, though 168 athletes were granted permission to compete under a neutral flag as Olympic Athletes of Russia (OAR). Many of those members have left Pyeongchang, including the IOC's two strongest dissenting voices: Richard Pound of Canada and Adam Pengilly of Britain. It also would continue a pattern of such attempts, including during the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Russian Federation was banned from the Olympics on December 5 because of a massive doping scandal at the 2014 Sochi Games.

An IOC statement confirmed that positive doping cases involving curler Aleksandr Krushelnitckii, who has been stripped of a mixed doubles bronze medal, and bobsledder Nadezhda Sergeeva, scuppered the possibility of the suspension being lifted prior to the ceremony.

Two more Russian athletes tested positive in Pyeongchang in the past two weeks.

But IOC spokesman Mark Adams could not explain who would decide this time: the executive board on Saturday, or the full membership meeting on Sunday.

Competing under the OAR banner means the athletes must hear the Olympic anthem rather than the Russian anthem if they win a gold, and may be unable to carry the Russian flag at the closing ceremony this weekend.

Russia's medal hopes were reduced in part because the Russian Olympic Committee opted not to fill more than 40 open slots with other athletes when its preferred choices didn't pass IOC vetting. "Clean athletes continue to raise concerns and are understandably frustrated with the equivocal stance of the International Olympic Committee when it comes to the systemic doping in Russian Federation".

The session heard from Nicole Hoevertsz, the head of an implementation group that reported to the International Olympic Committee on the OAR delegation's "exemplary" behaviour in Pyeongchang.

The IOC has yet to announce if the Russians will be allowed to march into the ceremonies behind their red, white and blue flag.

He added: "There was no indication that these two cases were due to a systematic approach or that the delegation was trying to assist or cover up".

Bach has defended the right of individual athletes to be judged separately and shied away from collective punishment.

"It's a lot of emotion for us and just being there, enjoy what we did, I feel it's that we need to remember from the Games", she said. His stand has been seen as "soft on Russia" by many who called for an outright ban. "Many changes have been made and many changes still have to be made".

He also gave a sobering assessment about doping and cheating and the struggle to control it. The day where we say we have won this fight against doping will not come. "In society we have laws against theft and robbery for thousands years, but there is still theft or robbery". "These cases are isolated and we are running our own investigation".

"We firmly believe that we have completely fulfilled the conditions.", delegation chief Stanislav Pozdnyakov told reporters after he and Medvedeva put their case to the IOC.

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