Russia’s Olympic Committee was banned from the PyeongChang Olympics due to the nation’s doping scandal, but individual Russian athletes will be invited to compete at the Winter Games as neutrals under the Olympic Flag.
Russian athletes deemed “clean” by a panel will be invited to compete under the name “Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR).” No Russian flag, anthem or uniforms.
Rather, if an OAR team wins gold, the Olympic Anthem will play just as it did for the Unified Team at the 1992 Albertville Games.
The IOC said the athletes will be invited via “strict conditions” detailed here:
- Athletes must not have been had a doping violation.
- Athletes must have undergone pre-Games targeted drug tests recommended by a testing task force.
- Athletes must have undergone any other testing requirements specified to ensure a level playing field.
“This was an unprecedented attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games and sport,” IOC president Thomas Bach said in a press release, adding that he does not anticipate a boycott by Russian athletes. “The IOC [executive board], after following due process, has issued proportional sanctions for this systemic manipulation while protecting the clean athletes. This should draw a line under this damaging episode and serve as a catalyst for a more effective anti-doping system led by WADA.”