Olympics: Russia says International Olympic Committee has lifted its membership ban

The head of Russia's Olympic Committee said on Wednesday that the International Olympic Committee had reinstated his organisation's membership after suspending it over doping allegations.
Russian Olympic Committee president Alexander Zhukov delivering a speech during a welcoming ceremony for Russia's athletes returning from the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics, at Sheremetyevo International Airport on Feb 26, 2018.
Russian Olympic Committee president Alexander Zhukov delivering a speech during a welcoming ceremony for Russia's athletes returning from the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics, at Sheremetyevo International Airport on Feb 26, 2018.PHOTO: REUTERS

ZURICH/MOSCOW (REUTERS) - The head of Russia's Olympic Committee said on Wednesday (Feb 28) that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had reinstated his organisation's membership after suspending it over doping allegations.

"The Russian Olympic Committee has had its rights fully restored," said Alexander Zhukov, the president of the Russian Olympic Committee, in comments broadcast on state TV.

"It's a decision of the utmost importance for us."

Russians competed as neutrals in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics after the IOC suspended Russia in December, saying it had found evidence of an "unprecedented systematic manipulation" of the anti-doping system.

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

"The final notification of all remaining test results from the Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) delegation has been received," said the IOC in a statement on Wednesday.

"The IOC can confirm that all the remaining results are negative.

"Therefore, as stated in the executive board decision of Feb 25, the suspension of the Russian Olympic Committee is automatically lifted with immediate effect."

 

The decision had been announced earlier in comments by Mr Zhukov on state television.

"The Russian Olympic Committee has had its rights fully restored," he said. "It's a decision of the utmost importance for us."

A team of 168 Russians competed as part of a neutral OAR team in Pyeongchang but two of them failed drug tests - medal-winning curler Alexander Krushelnitsky and bobsleigher Nadezhda Sergeeva.

They had all been required to prove they were clean before the Games. Under the neutrality rules, the Russians were unable to wear national uniforms or have their anthem played at medal presentations, although the ice hockey team sang the national anthem on Sunday after winning the gold.

Krushelnitsky and his curling partner, his wife Anastasia Bryzgalova, returned their bronze medals.