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Russia barred from flying flag at Winter Games closing ceremony

Russia barred from flying flag at Winter Games closing ceremony

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The International Olympic Committee (IOC) dashed Russian athletes’ hopes of marching behind their national flag at the Winter Games on Sunday (February 25), deciding against immediately lifting Russia’s Olympic suspension after fresh doping violations.

Russians have been competing as neutral athletes at the Games, their Olympic status suspended, as IOC punishment for years of drug scandals involving allegations that Russia ran a systematic, state-backed drug-cheating programme.

The IOC said two Russian doping violations during the Pyeongchang Games had marred an otherwise clean report card for the Russian delegation at the Games.

Competition at the Winter Games concludes on Sunday and final drug testing results might not be known for several days or even weeks.

Russia’s Olympic delegation chief and its figure skating silver medallist, Evgenia Medvedeva, had made a last appeal to the IOC on Saturday for their suspension to be lifted, apologising for the two doping violations during the Games.

Medal-winning curler Alexander Krushelnitsky and bobsledder Nadezhda Sergeeva failed doping tests, angering a team that had been through extensive testing before and during the first days of Games competition without returning any positive results.

At the Games, the Russians have been unable to wear national uniforms or have their anthem played at medal presentations.

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