Russia banned from 2018 Winter Olympics

Russia has been banned from the 2018 Winter Olympics, following an investigation into doping during the 2014 Games

Russia has been banned from competing at next year's Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang by the International Olympic Committee.

The IOC also ordered them to pay $15m in costs after making what they called an “unprecedented attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games and sport”.

The move followed an investigation into allegation of state-sponsored doping at the 2014 Games hosted by Russia.

Theentire investigation was instigated by whistleblowing doctor Grigory Rodchenkov, who was director of Russia's anti-doping laboratory during Sochi 2014.

It is the first time the IOC has imposed a ban on a country competing under its own flag for doping. Luckily, Russian athletes who can prove they are clean would be allowed to compete in South Korea under a neutral flag, under the name 'Olympic Athlete from Russia' (OAR).

"This should draw a line under this damaging episode," the IOC said.

The decision has been widely condemned in Russia, with politicians urging a boycott of the Games. Other officials have however welcomes the chance for ‘clean’ athletes to take part.

IOC president Thomas Bach and his board came to the decision after reading through the findings and recommendations of a 17-month investigation headed up by the former president of Switzerland, Samuel Schmid.

Bach said: " This should draw a line under this damaging episode and serve as a catalyst for a more effective anti-doping system."

The Games in South Korea are due to start on 9 February.

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