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Russia Winter Olympic ban is controversial, says Russian sports minister

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Russia kicked out of 2018 Winter Olympics

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin said he would support Russian athletes participating in the upcoming Winter Olympics in South Korea, even though the Russian flag and anthem will be absent.

Without identifying Rodchenkov by name, Putin said the IOC's decision had been "mainly based on the testimonies of a person whose moral and ethical attitudes and psychological state raise many questions". However, it said *individual Russian athletes could be allowed to compete if they can prove and demonstrate a clean, doping-free background.

Meanwhile Russia's deputy Foreign Minister blamed the ban on the USA, accusing them of "dirty political tricks".

Russian athletes have said they will appeal the IOC's decision to the Court of Arbitration in Sports, but for now, the International Olympic Committee has said a panel of officials will decide which athletes will be accepted into the Games. The South Korean-born skating legend, is an eight-time gold medalist who obtained Russian citizenship in 2011, after a public falling out with South Korea's skating union.

Russian media expressed regret at the decision while welcoming the possibility of some athletes participating, albeit under tight restrictions.

Speaking to reporters after a speech to automobile plant workers in Nizhny Novgorod where he announced he would run for a fourth presidential term next year, Putin said the International Olympic Committee decision was politically motivated. Putin has previously said that it would be humiliating for his country to compete without national symbols.

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In an interview on Fox News' "The Story With Martha MacCallum," Haley said no decision has yet been made - and it will ultimately depend on the safety of the athletes.

"I can not accept the option that I would compete in the Olympic Games without the Russian flag as a neutral athlete", Medvedeva said in a statement issued by Russia's Olympic Committee (and translated into English by Google Translate).

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. Then punish those who are guilty", Putin said. In this meeting this afternoon the president of ROC (Russian Olympic Committee) has apologized.

Schmid's commission said it had confirmed a system described in the investigations conducted by the Canadian lawyer, Richard McLaren for the World Anti-Doping Agency, that found the head of Russia's anti-doping laboratory had secretly switched out dirty samples from Russian athletes during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi with the help of the country's FSB intelligence service. That decision means no Russian athletes will compete in their national team colors and their anthem will not play.

The IOC has stripped 11 medals from Russia's tally in Sochi so far over the doping.

It is now likely that a number of Russian champion athletes will compete.

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