IOC: Russians can compete at Olympics, but without flag


Russian President Vladimir Putin says he will not boycott the PyeongChang Olympics, after the Russian team was barred from competing for doping violations.

"I also feel concerned for the guys, many of whom I know personally and consider them to be my friends", Putin said, in further remarks that were reported by state-run Tass media.

Two of Russia's gold medalists from the Sochi Olympics, the slalom snowboarders and married couple Vic Wild and Alyona Zavarzina, could make a return as neutrals, though they've yet to comment on the International Olympic Committee decision.

"The situation should not have taken this turn", he said. "One should not be carried away by emotions". Although Russian athletes will be allowed to compete in Pyeongchang under the Olympic flag, and under strict conditions, the move to exclude a country over doping by the IOC on Tuesday was unprecedented.

Six-time Olympic hockey player Hayley Wickenheiser, who was elected to the IOC athletes' commission in 2014, aligns with Kershaw in placing the blame on Russia's sport leaders and not the athletes. Furthermore, the Russian national anthem won't be played if they manage to win a medal.

Studio guests for Match TV, Rossiya 24 and Channel One Russia were ready and waiting to share their thoughts on IOC President Thomas Bach's announcement.

Those Russian athletes that agree to compete under a neutral flag will wear special uniforms with the name "Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR)".

McLaren welcomed Tuesday's decision, saying: "By holding Russian Federation accountable for its actions, which date back at least to the (2012) London Games and continued through the Sochi Games, the sports community is demonstrating its commitment to ensuring athletes benefit from an even playing field and drug-free competition. It gives strength and inspires me during performances".

Zhukov had said the formal decision on whether Russian athletes will travel to Pyeongchang would likely be made at a gathering of its Olympic committee and its squads next week.

At the Kremlin, Peskov said questions remain about how the ban would be enacted.

Speaking robots will provide information on event scheduling, places to go sightseeing and transportation in four languages - Korean, English, Chinese and Japanese - and paint robots will draw murals on the walls of venues during the Games, South Korean officials reveadled.

Politicians and athletes earlier reacted with anger and disappointment to the International Olympic Committee decision.

His words didn't prevent Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova from saying Wednesday that the punishment of Russia's Olympic program was an attempt to isolate and weaken Russia, saying its critics had resorted to "Plan B", after the country hosted the Sochi Olympics.

"Throughout history, there were so many things we had to endure from our 'partners, ' " Zakharova said. 'We will not block our Olympians from taking part, if any of them wish to take part as individuals. "We survived, time and time again".

Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the foreign affairs committee at the Russian parliament's upper house, said the ruling is "clearly part of the West's policy to restrain Russia".