International Olympic Committee (IOC) members Denis Oswald, center right, of Switzerland, speaks with Angela Ruggiero, center left, from the United States, next to Gian-Franco Kasper, left, from Switzerland and Sergey Bubka, right, from the Ukraine, prior to the opening of the first day of the executive board meeting of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at the IOC headquarters, in Pully near Lausanne, on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. (Laurent Gillieron/pool photo via AP)

Updated: IOC suspends Russian Olympic committee

The IOC has suspended the Russian Olympic committee, but will allow athletes to compete as neutrals

Russian athletes will be allowed to compete at the upcoming Pyeongchang Olympics as neutrals despite orchestrated doping at the 2014 Sochi Games, the International Olympic Committee said Tuesday.

The IOC suspended the Russian Olympic committee and IOC member Alexander Zhukov, and also banned Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vilaty Mutko from the Olympics for life. Mutko was the sports minister in 2014 and is the head of the organizing committee of soccer’s next World Cup.

The IOC also imposed a fine of $15 million on the Russian Olympic committee to pay for investigations into the case and toward future anti-doping work.

Still, the IOC ruled that some Russians will be invited to compete as an “Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR)” without their national flag or anthem.

Related: Athlete caught doping in 2010 Vancouver Olympic retesting

Russia could refuse the offer and boycott the games. Russian President Vladimir Putin has previously said it would be humiliating for Russia to compete without national symbols.

“An Olympic boycott has never achieved anything,” IOC President Thomas Bach said at a news conference. “Secondly, I don’t see any reason for a boycott by the Russian athletes because we allow the clean athletes there to participate.”

The sanctions could be challenged at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The Russian doping program caused “unprecedented damage to Olympism and sports,” said IOC-appointed investigator Samuel Schmid, the former president of Switzerland who was asked to verify an “institutional conspiracy.”

Russia has repeatedly refused to accept that a state-sponsored doping program existed. Such denials helped ensure bans on its track federation and anti-doping agency have not been lifted.

Instead, Russia blames Grigory Rodchenkov, the former director of Moscow and Sochi testing laboratories, as a rogue employee. It wants the scientist extradited from the United States, where he is a protected witness.

The executive board reached its decision Tuesday after a scheduled 4 1/2-hour debate when it heard from a Russian delegation that included world figure skating champion Evgenia Medvedeva. The delegation was led by Zhukov, who was later suspended.

Two IOC commission leaders — appointed after World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren upheld Rodchenkov’s doping claims in July 2016 — also reported to the Olympic board.

Schmid’s report included a 50-page sworn affidavit from Rodchenkov, who was also a key witness for McLaren and an IOC disciplinary commission.

The chairman of that disciplinary panel, Swiss lawyer Denis Oswald, reported about prosecuting Russian athletes implicated in cheating at the 2014 Sochi Games. By Monday, 25 Russians had been disqualified from the Sochi Games and banned from the Olympics for life, and 11 medals were stripped. One Russian was cleared.

Russia no longer leads the Sochi medals table. Even before the IOC reallocates the stripped medals, the United States has the most total medals and Norway has the most golds.

The banned Russian athletes have said they will appeal against the Oswald judgments at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne.

Any sanctions imposed by the IOC can also be challenged at CAS, and later at Switzerland’s supreme court, which can intervene if legal process has been abused.

The IOC said a panel of officials chaired by former France Sports Minister Valerie Fourneyron will decide which athletes to accept at the Olympics in February.

The Canadian Press

Related: Hudson’s Bay Co. unveils kit for Pyeongchang Olympics

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Greyhound cleared to end routes in northern B.C., Vancouver Island

Company says nine routes have dropped 30% in ridership in last five years

Houston athletes prepare for B.C. Winter Games

Eryn Czirfusz and U14 ringette team to represent Houston

BC BUDGET: New spaces a step to universal child care

Fees reduced for licensed daycare operators

BC BUDGET: NDP cracks down on speculators, hidden ownership

Foreign buyers’ tax extended to Fraser Valley, Okanagan, Vancouver Island

BC BUDGET: Payroll tax replaces medical premiums

Health spending to increase $1.5 billion for drugs, primary care teams

B.C. Games open with Olympic touch

The 2018 B.C. Winter Games kicked off in Kamloops

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

BCHL Today: Merritt Centennials keep moving while Salmon Arm Silverbacks slide

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Former Canuck Roberto Luongo addresses Florida shooting victims

Parkland, Fla., resident, delivers speech before Florida Panthers’ first home game since tragedy

OLYMPIC ROUNDUP: Kelowna skier Kesley Serwa adds to Canada’s gold medals

Despite losses in men’s hockey and curling, Canadian women won medals in ski cross and figure skating

Suspected serial killer targeting Toronto gay community now faces six murder charges

Bruce McArthur now charged with murders of six men: Toronto police

Trump suggests more guns in schools to combat shootings

Trump floats two-step plan for gun control: More guns, more control

Second Russian athlete tests positive for doping at Olympics

Russian Bobsled Federation states a drug-test sample that pilot Nadezhda Sergeeva gave on Sunday was positive.

Indigenous leaders call for change after ‘system fails’ Tina Fontaine

‘All of us should be ashamed’: Calls for change after jury finds Raymond Cormier not guilty

Most Read