A Russian supporter waves a flag before the preliminary round of the men’s hockey game between the team from Russia and the United States at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) A Russian supporter waves a flag before the preliminary round of the men’s hockey game between the team from Russia and the United States at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Russia’s Olympic ban lifted after doping scandal

Russia reinstated into Olympic movement despite two failed doping tests at Pyeongchang

Russia’s ban from the Olympic movement was lifted on Wednesday despite two failed doping tests by its athletes at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

The decision by the International Olympic Committee appears to be an attempt to draw a line under the state-concocted doping scandal that tarnished the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.

The IOC allowed more than 160 athletes it determined were clean to compete in Sochi as “Olympic Athletes from Russia” in Pyeongchang earlier this month with a prohibition on the national anthem or flag in venues.

Russia’s hopes of marching under its flag at Sunday’s closing ceremony in South Korea were stymied by the two positive tests for banned substances, including a curler who had to forfeit his bronze medal. But the IOC said Wednesday that all remaining test results were negative, clearing the path for Russia’s return to the Olympic fold.

“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 IOC said in a statement.

Related: Second Russian athlete tests positive for doping at Olympics

Russian athletes won two gold medals in Pyeongchang, in figure skating and ice hockey, along with six silver medals and nine bronze.

“I would like to thank our athletes who were able to perform well even despite the provocations,” Russian Olympic Committee President Alexander Zhukov said in quotes carried by the TASS news agency. “I thank the fans who did not cross the line and what could result in sanctions. Today’s IOC’s decision is very important for us. The ROC is an absolutely full-fledged member of the Olympic family.”

Russia also complied with its financial sanctions last week by paying $15 million to pay for the IOC’s two investigations into the scheme and toward future anti-doping work.

Vitaly Smirnov, the head of an anti-doping commission set up by Russian President Vladimir Putin, did acknowledge on Wednesday that “we have a long way to go to get rid of the mistakes, which we made in the past.”

But Russia continues to deny there was state involvement in the plot, which included urine samples in supposedly tamper-proof bottles at the 2014 Olympics being swapped out for clean samples through a “mouse hole” in the wall at a laboratory in Sochi.

The IOC decision to reinstate Russia has no bearing on the International Paralympic Committee’s earlier ruling to maintain the country’s ban. The only Russians at the March 8-18 Pyeongchang Games will be known as “Neutral Paralympic Athletes,” mirroring the IOC’s compromise.

Related: Russian athlete suspected of doping at PyeongChang Olympics

Rob Harris, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Gun, drugs and cash seized in arrest of alleged Victoria fentanyl dealer

Brent Connors is facing nine charges in relation to the investigation

PHOTOS: Oak Bay police officers rescue baby seal found on rocky shoreline

Marina Mammal Rescue Centre recommends residents observe from a distance

B.C. man (pick up truck, Lucky Beer poster, and all) revels in return to Esquimalt

Rear-Admiral Bob Auchterlonie assumed command of the Maritime Forces Pacific

Saanich and Victoria councils set to weigh in on amalgamation question

Question in Oct. 20 referendum will ask residents if they are in favour of expolring amalgmation

Mysterious East Sooke ‘Grouse Nest’ up for sale

Luxurious East Sooke property on selling block for $6.98 million

Victoria Ska and Reggae Fest fills harbour with music

Music festival wraps with free party Sunday at Ship Point

5 fun things to do this weekend in Greater Victoria

Victoria Ska and Reggae Fest, Ride Don’t Hide, Cordova Bay Day and more

Vancouver Canucks tab Quinn Hughes with No. 7 overall pick in NHL draft

University of Michigan standout was second defenceman picked in first round

Jogger spent two weeks in U.S. detention centre after accidentally crossing B.C. border

Cedella Roman, 19, crossed the border while out for a run

B.C. woman with severely disabled son keeps getting parking tickets

‘There has to be something they could do’

Man brandishes axe during robbery

Mounties were able to locate the suspect within two hours of the incident

‘Creep off’ reporting system aims to track street harassment in Metro Vancouver

Text-based hotline launches to collect public reports on where and when harassment occurs

Happy ending for orphaned bear cubs

Two orphaned bear cubs were captured in Castlegar and sent for rehabilitation.

10 feet from home: B.C. grassfire offers stark reminder how quickly blazes burn

Kamloops woman among first people in B.C. to be told to evacuate home this wildfire season

Most Read