Russia’s Olympic membership restored by IOC after doping ban

Russia has been welcomed back into the Olympic family just days after the end of the Winter Games and despite two of the country’s athletes failing drug tests.

The country was banned from the Pyeongchang Olympics after widespread doping was uncovered yet the International Olympic Committee approved a team of 168 athletes competing as “neutrals”.

Two of that number failed drug tests but the IOC has still chosen to reinstate Russia’s Olympic membership, provoking anger among the international sporting community.

“The final notification of all remaining test results from the Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) delegation has been received,” read an IOC statement. “The IOC can confirm that all the remaining results are negative. Therefore, as stated in the executive board decision of 25 February, the suspension of the Russian Olympic Committee is automatically lifted with immediate effect.”

Russia were banned from competing at the Olympics in December last year, a belated reaction to a report authored by the Canadian lawyer Richard McClaren in 2016, which exposed a massive state-run doping operation. They were not allowed to march under their own flag in South Korea, nor was their national anthem played at medal ceremonies.

The OAR team in South Korea were the third largest and won 17 medals including two golds. All had been required to prove they were clean before the event started but their curler Aleksandr Krushelnitckii was forced to return his bronze medal after failing a drug test along with the bobsledder Nadezhda Sergeeva.

Alexander Zhukov, president of the ROC, said: “The Russian Olympic Committee has had its rights fully restored. It’s a decision of the utmost importance for us.

“I would like to thank our athletes who were able to perform well even despite the provocations. I thank the fans who did not cross the line. Today’s IOC decision is very important for us. The ROC is an absolutely full-fledged member of the Olympic family.”

The author: Margareta STROOT

Margareta Stroot, a multi-talented individual, calls Brussels her home. With a unique blend of careers, she balances her time as a part-time journalist and a part-time real estate agent. Margareta's deep-rooted knowledge of the city of Brussels, where she resides, has proven invaluable in both of her roles. Her journalism captures the essence of the city, while her real estate expertise helps others find their perfect homes in the vibrant Belgian capital.

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