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IOC bans Russia from 2018 Olympic Winter Games

Russian athletes allowed to compete in PyeongChang under neutral flag
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Russian athletes in PyeongChang will compete under the name "Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR)," with a uniform bearing the name "OAR" and under the Olympic flag. -Getty Images

The International OIympic Committee Executive Board ruled Tuesday that Russia has been banned from the 2018 Olympic Winter Games but that its athletes may compete in PyeongChang under a neutral flag. The decision comes after years of investigation into a state-organized doping program Russia used at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Russian athletes will participate in PyeongChang, "be it in individual or team competitions," under the name "Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR)." Based on that language, the decision allows Russian athletes to compete under a neutral flag in the figure skating team event.

The athletes will compete with a uniform bearing the name "OAR" and under the Olympic flag. The Olympic anthem will be played in any ceremony.

According to the IOC release, the Russian athletes selected to compete in PyeongChang must prove they are clean to a panel chaired by Valerie Fourneyron, the chair of the recently formed Independent Testing Authority. (Read the full IOC release here.)

Since the 2014 Olympic Games, doping allegations have been levied against Russia and several of its athletes that competed in Sochi. Based on the findings of the McLaren Report, which found that doping samples taken from Russian athletes in Sochi were tampered with, and the Oswald and Schmid commissions -- the latter of which corroborated the evidence produced in the McLaren Report and the former of which showed that an "institutional conspiracy" existed -- 25 Russian athletes have been disqualified from the Sochi Games and banned from the Olympics for life, and 11 Russians have been stripped of the medals they won in Sochi.

One Russian athlete has been cleared of wrongdoing: Olympic figure skating champion Adelina Sotnikova. No figure skater has been hit with any penalties. One Russian speed skater, Olga Futkulina, received a lifetime ban from the Olympics and was stripped of the silver medal she won in the 500 meters in Sochi.

Russian leaders have vehemently denied the existence of a state-sponsored doping program.