IOC Lifts Ban On Russia's Olympic Committe

Russian Olympians greeted by thousands of fans on Moscow arrival

Russian Federation was reinstated by the International Olympic Committee on Wednesday after the remaining tests of the country's athletes at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics were all returned negative.

A team of 168 athletes from the European nation were allowed to compete under a neutral flag as Olympic Athletes of Russia (OAR) in South Korea.

Nicole Hoevertsz, who chaired the OAR implementation group, then claimed the suspension could be lifted between 48 to 72 hours after the Closing Ceremony, which took place on Sunday (February 25).

On Sunday, the International Olympic Committee announced that Russian Federation, which has repeatedly denied any state involvement in doping, would be automatically readmitted so long as there were no more doping violations.

Russian Olympians received a warm welcome from a huge crowd at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport, where fans had gathered to catch a glimpse of their heroes returning from the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Games on Tuesday.

"For us today's decision by the International Olympic Committee is very important".

"All of the doping tests that were conducted on our athletes in the last days of the Olympics were negative", Zhukov said.

The confirmation means Russian Federation have been reinstated just three days after the end of the Winter Games.

Grigoriy Sisoev  Sputnik
Grigoriy Sisoev Sputnik

The scandal meant that the Olympic team from Russian Federation could not use national colours or flag for the closing ceremony in Pyeongchang as originally hoped. In the report of the Schmid commission, it was noted that there was no evidence of support of the "supreme system" by the highest state bodies of the Russian Federation. "The ROC is an absolutely full-fledged member of the Olympic family".

An IOC spokesperson has since confirmed the suspension has been lifted. Krushelnitsky returned his bronze medal from mixed doubles.

World Anti-Doping Agency president Craig Reedie told CNN during the Games that the Russians had "come a long way".

The IOC decision to reinstate Russian Federation has no bearing on the International Paralympic Committee's earlier ruling to maintain the country's ban.

Those 28, however, were not invited to Pyeongchang by the IOC.

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