Russian Federation banned from 2018 Winter Olympics over doping

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Some Russian athletes will be allowed to attend and compete with special exceptions, but they will do so in a neutral uniform, the International Olympic Committee said. But they will have to compete under the title of "Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR)".

Neutral flag (also called white) - this is the flag of the Olympic games with five rings. "The Olympic Anthem will be played in any ceremony", said a statement on the IOC website.

Schmid said the "systemic manipulation" of the anti-doping rules in Russia "has never been seen before" and explained the legal responsibility for this lies with the sports ministry, as the ultimate power in Russian sport, and the ROC due to its obligations via the Olympic charter and as the signatory of the host-city contract for Sochi 2014.

Russian Federation basks in a golden hue after topping the medals table at the Sochi Winter Games in the Black Sea resort, with 13 titles and 33 medals in total.

The IOC's decision comes 18 months after it had refused an outright ban of Russian athletes at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics and told global sports federations to decide individually on the participation of Russians in Brazil.

The IOC's president, Thomas Bach, said of the punishment handed down on Tuesday, "This was an unprecedented attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games and sport".

Mutko, who was sports minister at the time of the 2014 Sochi Olympics, remains head of the 2018 World Cup organizing committee.

The U.S. Olympic Committee supported the IOC's decision.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has previously said it would be humiliating for Russia to compete without national symbols.

"This should draw a line under this damaging episode and serve as a catalyst for a more effective anti-doping system led by WADA", he added, referring to the World Anti-Doping Agency.

The consensus among athletes was that the International Olympic Committee struck a good balance between punishing the nation but not Russian athletes who may not have been part of the vast doping scheme.

That is, if Russian President Vladimir Putin allows them to go to the February 9-25 games.

The Russian doping scandal began in Sochi.

The IOC also heard from a large Russian delegation, led by the former KGB agent Vitaly Smirnov - a long-time IOC member and a major sports administrator dating back to the Soviet era - as well as the brilliant 18-year-old skater Evgenia Medvedeva, the double-world champion who has not been beaten for two years.

Instead, Russia blames Grigory Rodchenkov, the former director of Moscow and Sochi testing laboratories, as a rogue employee.

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