Russia Won't Boycott Olympics Over Ban For Doping, Putin Says

BUDAPEST HUNGARY- FEBRUARY 17 Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to the media with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban at Parliament on February 17

Sean Gallup Getty Images President Vladimir Putin maintained that Russia did not run a state-backed doping system around the Sochi Olympics

While the Schmid report criticizes Russia's minister of sport and describes "a widespread culture of doping in Russian Federation", it also states that it didn't find any solid evidence "confirming the support of the knowledge of this system by the highest State authority" - seemingly a reference to President Vladimir Putin.

But the International Olympic Committee also said it would allow some individual Russian athletes to take part as neutrals, provided they were able to pass a specially created International Olympic Committee anti-doping panel. In this meeting this afternoon the president of ROC (Russian Olympic Committee) has apologized.

Anti-doping agencies from 37 different countries, including the U.S., have called for a total ban on Russian participation in the 2018 Olympics. "There are positive and negative sides", he said.

Other Russians were more forthright, with Alexei Kravtsov, president of the Russian Skating Union, saying: "The decision is offensive, insulting and completely unjustified". This pressure has nothing in common with the ideology of the Olympic movement.

"These are not the principles of Olympism".

United Nations ambassador Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyTrump's withdrawal from migration summit shows his nationalist colors US, South Sudan must stand together for peace Dems plan ambitious campaign for red-state governorships MORE said Wednesday there's still an "open question" as to whether the USA will send its athletes to South Korea in February for the Winter Olympics, citing escalating tensions with North Korea.

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He also noted that it was "very important" that the neutral uniforms that Russian athletes would wear would still have the word "Russia" on them. "The conditions then and now are totally different", said Bach.

Given that the allegations about Russia's plan to sabotage the anti-doping system at Sochi 2014 have now been corroborated by two International Olympic Committee commissions and a World Anti-Doping Agency-funded investigation, the Russian athletes' chances of overturning their disqualifications look slim, as do their hopes of competing in Pyeongchang.

McLaren's report in 2016 found more than 1,000 Russian competitors in over 30 sports had been involved in a conspiracy to hide positive drug tests over a five-year period.

However, that ban was lifted two days after the start of the 2014 Games and the athletes paraded behind their own "Tiranga" flag at the closing ceremony.

Ahead of the IOC's decision, NPR's Lucian Kim visited Moscow's famous Gorky Park to hear what Russians are making of the claims against their country in some of its most revered sports.

"This decision further confirms the conclusions of my investigation, and I wish to thank all those who helped me with my work - some of whom did so at great personal risk". Should they win gold medals, the Olympic anthem, not the Russian anthem, will be played in the medal ceremonies. The IOC, however, plans to invite individual Russians to compete under the Olympic flag.

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