Kremlin Promises Not to Boycott Olympics Ahead of IOC Ruling

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Almost a year and a half after drawing widespread criticism for not banning Russian Federation from the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro following allegations of a state-sponsored doping regime, the International Olympic Committee faces a similar quandary today in Switzerland, where it will decide whether to ban Russian Federation from the upcoming Winter Olympics in Pyeong-chang, South Korea.

Here's everything you need to know about the country's sticky situation - and what's on tap as Olympics executives decide whether or not Russian athletes should even be allowed to compete this February. Now it is about the integrity of the Olympic Games.

Investigations and drug tests by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and testimony by several whistle-blowers has led to dozens of Russian athletes being banned for doping, as well as allegations that Russian officials ran a covert doping operation for its Olympic athletes from 2012 to 2015, peaking at the Sochi Olympics in 2014.

There were signs, however, that the International Olympic Committee decision may be acceptable to Russian Federation.

It is also possible that the IOC, as in the case of the summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, delegates the right of admission of Russians to the Games to global sports federations.

Not welcome in Pyeongchang next year will be any sign of the Russian Olympic Committee or any member of its sports ministry, which was responsible for what investigators concluded was a top-to-bottom scheme of "manipulation and cheating" to ensure Russians could dope at the Olympics on their home turf and not get caught.

The IOC also banned Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko - who was sports minister during the Sochi Games - for life.

The honorary head of Russia's Olympic Committee has said that he believes Russia-one of the most decorated teams in the competition-will participate in the Winter Olympics but not with all its athletes. He added that they plan to discuss it Russian sports officials and athletes at a forthcoming meeting before a final decision on participation, but didn't give a date.

"An Olympic boycott has never achieved anything", Bach said, insisting that given the window left open for clean athletes to compete, a boycott was unnecessary. "That's the real problem for a lot of these athletes if they want to compete individually [as neutral athletes]", he said.

No Russian athlete with a previous doping violation will be allowed to compete and no official who had a leadership role at Sochi 2014 will be invited to Pyeongchang. Speaking to the news agency Interfax, however, he suggested that the Kremlin may decide otherwise, in which case he would support its decision. He said, "refusing means giving in" to what he terms political pressure. "And if, I hope to God, we manage to compete well, then we'll definitely sing the anthem".

Olympics Ignition Six Months to Pyeongchang
Olympics Ignition Six Months to Pyeongchang

"Even if a national team is banned, athletes can apply to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to compete as individual athletes", Barker says.

The best option for any athlete who feels he has been unfairly sanctioned or banned from competing in global sports is to file an appeal with the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The findings were based on the testimony of the primary whistleblower, Grigory Rodchenkov, the eccentric former head of the Moscow anti-doping laboratory, who was immortalized in the Netflix documentary Icarus.

The executive board reached its decision Tuesday after a scheduled 4½-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.

On Monday, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the Kremlin is not considering boycotting Olympic Games, referring to media speculations that Russian Federation might retaliate over IOC's decision to ban national emblems by keeping an entire team out of the Games.

The report by IOC-appointed investigator Samuel Schmid, the former president of Switzerland who was asked to verify an "institutional conspiracy", included a 50-page sworn affidavit from Rodchenkov, who was also a key witness for McLaren and an International Olympic Committee disciplinary commission.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said that Moscow is not considering a boycott of the upcoming Winter Olympic Games, despite possible sanctions against Russian athletes for doping.

It's likely she will ask the International Olympic Committee how it could issue a blanket ban on the Russian team when it would keep someone like her - never found to have used illegal substances and one of the top talents in her sport - from competing in the Olympics.

Eleven of Russia's 33 podium winners at Sochi have been stripped of their gold, silver, and bronze medals.

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