International Olympic Committee lifts ban on Russia despite two failed doping tests

Russia's ban from the Olympics has reportedly been lifted by the International Olympic Committee, according to the Associated Press. The ban, which initially resulted from the McClaren Report in 2015, which exposed a massive state-run doping operation, prohibited Russia from marching under its own flag and being awarded medals as a country in the 2018 Winter Olympics. Instead, Russian athletes participated as "Olympic Athletes from Russia." and competed under the Olympic flag. The OAR finished with 17 medals -- two gold -- none of which will count toward Russia's medal count.

The International Olympic Committee gave Russia every opportunity to compete in Pyeongchang. After the massive doping scandal in 2014's Sochi Games got Russia banned from the 2016 Paralympics, it was given a set of probationary measures. One of those measures was to admit that there was a state-wide doping scandal, which Russia did (and does) refuse to admit.

At the Pyeongchang Games, another two Russian athletes tested positive for doping. Curler Aleksandr Krushelnitckii, who won bronze in mixed curling, was banned from the Games and forced to return his bronze medal. So was bobsledder and "I don't do doping" t-shirt wearer Nadezhda Sergeeva. Because of these transgressions, the IOC did not lift the ban for the Closing Ceremony so Russia could march under its own flag. However, the steadfastness was short-lived.

Russia had over 160 independent athletes in Pyeongchang, which Russian Olympic Committee President Alexander Zhukov was grateful for.

"I would like to thank our athletes who were able to perform well even despite the provocations," Zhukov said on the TASS news agency, a state-sponsored news source, via the AP. "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."

According to Zhukov, the letter was received earlier on Wednesday.

World Anti-Doping Agency member Sir Craig Reedie is not a fan of the lifted ban, telling the BBC News Hour that the decision was "premature." Richard McClaren's report came on behalf of WADA as an independent investigator.

Medal Tracker
PyeongChang 2018
Country
Gold
Silver
Bronze
TOTAL
NOR 14 14 11 39
GER 14 10 7 31
CAN 11 8 10 29
USA 9 8 6 23
NED 8 6 6 20
SWE 7 6 1 14
KOR 5 8 4 17
SUI 5 6 4 15
FRA 5 4 6 15
AUT 5 3 6 14
JPN 4 5 4 13
ITA 3 2 5 10
OAR 2 6 9 17
CZE 2 2 3 7
BLR 2 1 0 3
CHN 1 6 2 9
SVK 1 2 0 3
FIN 1 1 4 6
GBR 1 0 4 5
POL 1 0 1 2
HUN 1 0 0 1
UKR 1 0 0 1
AUS 0 2 1 3
SLO 0 1 1 2
BEL 0 1 0 1
ESP 0 0 2 2
NZL 0 0 2 2
LIE 0 0 1 1
KAZ 0 0 1 1
LAT 0 0 1 1
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