From Inside the Games

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has today lifted its suspension of Russia, the organisation has confirmed.

The decision was announced by Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) President Alexander Zhukov, who said that the remaining doping tests on the neutral Olympic Athletes From Russia (OAR) team had come back negative from Pyeongchang 2018.

Russia were suspended and forced to compete under the OAR name at the Winter Olympics in South Korea this month due to their “systemic manipulation” of the anti-doping regime at Sochi 2014.

Two failed drug tests by Russian athletes at Pyeongchang 2018 proved key in the suspension not being lifted in time for the Closing Ceremony.

An IOC Executive Board ruling on December 5 had said that the ban could be lifted before the Closing Ceremony – meaning Russian athletes could march under their own flag – so long as they had honoured the “letter and spirit” of eligibility requirements.

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 the day of the Closing Ceremony, her group recommended the suspension be lifted immediately once the IOC received notification from her that there had been no further positive doping cases involving any of the OAR athletes.

The confirmation today means Russia have been reinstated just three days after Pyeongchang 2018 ended.

“Today we received a letter from the IOC about the restoration,” said Zhukov.

“The restoration of the ROC was connected with the end of the doping tests from the Olympics in Pyeongchang, the IOC can confirm that all other results are negative.

“It means that the ROC is fully restored in its rights.”

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