IOC Deciding Whether to Ban Russia From Pyeongchang Games

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The Russian delegation attending the International Olympic Committee Executive Board meeting in Switzerland will be given the Schmid report on alleged systemic doping in the country just 20 minutes before presenting their case before the IOC members.

Pressure on the International Olympic Committee to issue a blanket ban against Russia has only increased since the Rio Games, as more evidence has emerged supporting allegations made by a former director of a Moscow anti-doping laboratory that the Russian government was complicit in a widespread scheme that included sabotaging drug testing of Russian athletes during the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi.

Any Russian athlete hoping to earn invitations to Pyeongchang will have to come through a stricter-than-usual testing regime and not have a doping violation on their record.

British bobsleigh racer John Jackson found out last month that he had been awarded a retrospective bronze medal from the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics as a result of the Russian doping scandal.

Instead, the IOC gave the power to ban to the worldwide federation of each Olympic sport. By the time the report came out, almost all Russian track and field athletes had been banned by the International Association of Athletics Federations. The global weightlifting federation also banned the Russian and Bulgarian teams because of widespread failed doping tests by athletes from those countries.

Russia's chances of going to Pyeongchang have been further damaged by a raft of bans handed out to its medallists at the Sochi 2014 Games in the past week. German athletes come in second with 844 doping samples collected, with Canadians tailing third (504), the United States fourth (433), and lastly Swedish athletes (403), says a document posted on the website of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Would such a ban by the IOC be unprecedented in Olympic history?

"It really would be unprecedented", Barker says.

"He was particularly concerned about the Ukrainian biathletes, who threw the Russians a serious challenge in the relay".

Russia's ice hockey team has won gold eight times if you include the titles as the Soviet Union and as a united post-Soviet team. "Either forcing Russian Federation to compete under a neutral flag or not letting it go to the Olympics at all".

"There are two options", Putin said.

But such a decision would anger many in the Olympic and anti-doping community who have been calling for the IOC to finally get tough with Russia in light of a growing body of evidence that state officials knew about and supported a Russian doping system. That would mean they would not be allowed to wear Russian colors or national symbols and when they win a medal the Olympic flag and anthem would be used during the medal ceremony. At the IAAF world championships in London in August, 19 Russian track-and-field athletes did compete under such conditions.

The IOC has also been declaring sanctioned athletes to be ineligible for future Olympics as it strips them of their victories - an approach that has promised to reshape the field for the upcoming 2018 PyeongChang games in South Korea.