Nikki Haley Calls US Presence at South Korea Olympics an 'Open Question'

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Sputnik Vitaly Podvitski No Russian

"We supported athletes who made a decision to compete under a neutral flag before and we are doing the same now".

The International Olympic Committee on Tuesday banned Russia from the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea over a state-orchestrated doping programme, saying clean Russian athletes would be allowed to compete under the Olympic flag.

Mr. Peskov said it would be wrong to jump to conclusions until Russia's athletes had met and the International Olympic Committee had been contacted.

"If we will be able to see the excellent performance that Russian athletes demonstrated in previous winter games, that will make a huge contributions to the success of the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics", the ministry said in a statement.

"As the president said yesterday while expressing his view of the situation surrounding the IOC's decision, the reason is that there are still a lot of unanswered questions". The IOC accused Russian Federation of systematic violations of anti-doping rules, particularly during the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

"This is politics", said Medvedev, in comments broadcast on state TV. Russian athletes are encouraged to play the Games and to strengthen relations between States. That said, the IOC intends to observe the rights of clean athletes: athletes who match the proposed criteria will take part in the Games in the status of Olympic athletes from Russian Federation.

It's acceptable for Russian athletes to compete under the IOC's terms, two-time gold medalist pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva said, according to Interfax. At the same time, the IOC intends to respect the rights of clean athletes, allowing them to participate in the upcoming games as "Olympic Athletes of Russian Federation".

"I think that this excuse was not used in an honest way, to put it mildly", Putin said without elaborating.

The Russian team has been stripped of 11 of the 33 medals it won at the $50 billion Sochi Games, the most expensive in history, because of doping violations, knocking it from first to fifth place in the overall medals ranking. "Then punish those who are guilty", Putin said.

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