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Russian Olympic Committee hails end of IOC suspension

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has moved to reinstate the membership of the Russian Olympic Committee, with ROC president Alexander Zhukov thanking the country’s athletes and fans for not committing acts that could have resulted in further sanctions.

The IOC on Sunday declined to allow Russia to parade under its own flag at the closing ceremony for the 2018 winter Olympic Games, but the ROC was expected to have its suspension lifted within a short period, news that was confirmed yesterday (Wednesday).

“Today, we received a letter from the IOC on the reinstatement,” Zhukov said, according to state news agency Tass. “The ROC’s reinstatement comes as the examination of doping tests from the Pyeongchang Olympics has ended. The IOC may confirm that the other results (of examination of Russian athletes’ doping samples) are negative. This means that the ROC’s rights have been fully reinstated.”

The IOC added in a statement: “The final notification of all remaining test results from the Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR) delegation has been received from the Doping-Free Sport Unit (DFSU).

The IOC can confirm that all the remaining results are negative. 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 made its initial decision on Sunday after bobsledder Nadezhda Sergeeva on Friday became the second Russian athlete to return a positive doping test at the 2018 Games. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Saturday said that Sergeeva had admitted to the offence and was disqualified from the Olympics having tested positive in an out-of-competition test for the banned heart condition product trimetazidine two days before her race.

Her test meant that Russia had been responsible for half of the positive doping tests reported at Pyeongchang 2018. Curling athlete Aleksandr Krushelnitckii was earlier stripped of his bronze medal from the 2018 Games after admitting to a doping violation for an offence concerning meldonium.

The IOC initially moved to ban Russia from competing at the 2018 Olympics after finding evidence of an “unprecedented systematic manipulation” of doping results surrounding the 2014 Games in Sochi. The Russian team competed under the OAR banner in Pyeongchang, using kit without national branding, and the IOC had given athletes the chance to apply for invitations under this status. The Russian anthem and flag was also not used during medal ceremonies.

However, the IOC had said that it may partially or fully lift the suspension of the ROC from the commencement of the closing ceremony of the 2018 Games provided its decisions from December were fully respected and implemented by the ROC and by invited athletes and officials.

The IOC on Sunday said that subject to the continued compliance with the December ruling, the suspension of the ROC would be considered to be lifted once the DFSU had confirmed that there were no additional Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRVs) by members of the OAR delegation.

Zhukov said today: “You know that the past three months have been among the most challenging ones in the Russian sport’s history. We had to meet many demands before and during the Games.

“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 with what could result in sanctions. Today’s IOC decision is very important for us. The ROC is an absolutely full-fledged member of the Olympic family.”

The Russian OAR team won 17 medals at Pyeongchang 2018 – two golds, six silver and nine bronze.