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

Cyclist without helmet thrown onto windshield in Oak Bay

Despite damage to bike, cyclist uninjured following accident

Annual UVic Xmas tree sale goes on despite loss of beloved tree farmer

Mike Fleming of Saanichton Christmas Tree Farm partnered with students for annual fundraiser for nearly 20 years

Child struck by vehicle in Saanich, taken to hospital

Police are investigating this as a hit and run on Glanford Avenue

Victoria tech companies donate record-breaking weight of food

VIATEC’s 16th annual food bank challenge raised $45,224.40 for Mustard Seed

City of Victoria responds to blind community’s B.C. Human Rights Tribunal case

The Canadian Federation of the Blind says bike lanes can be dangerous

Lawyer for Chinese exec detained by Canada says it’s ‘inconceivable’ she would flee

Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of the U.S. during a layover at the Vancouver airport

Omar Khadr to ask for Canadian passport to travel, permission to speak to sister

He spent years in U.S. detention at Guantanamo Bay after he was caught when he was 15

One of Tori Stafford’s killers transferred to medium-security prison

Michael Rafferty was sentenced to life in prison in 2012 in the kidnapping, sexual assault and first-degree murder of Tori Stafford

‘Abhorrent’ condition of autistic B.C. boy shows flaws in care system: report

‘Charlie’ was underweight and ‘covered in feces’ when he was removed from his mom’s care

Military closes book on oft-criticized support unit for ill, injured troops

The transition unit will provide support and services to military members struggling with physical and mental injuries so they can return to work.

Vancouver Canucks rookie Elias Pettersson named NHL’s first star of the week

Canucks centre scored two goals and six assists in three games

Protester says Canada doing U.S. ‘dirty work’ outside Huawei exec’s bail hearing

The U.S. wants to extradite Meng to face fraud allegations after Canada arrested the high-profile technology executive.

Union says arrows and gasoline tossed at striking Comox Valley assisted living workers

BCGEU president Stephanie Smith says arrows and gasoline were thrown at the picketers early in the week

Most Read