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IOC Upholds Russia Ban, Ending Hopes For Closing Ceremony

26 February 2018
IOC Upholds Russia Ban, Ending Hopes For Closing Ceremony

Smith said it "would not be appropriate" because a Russian mixed doubles curler and bobsledder tested positive for banned substances in Pyeongchang. If the suspension is not lifted, the Russian athletes will march behind the Olympic flag and in neutral uniforms.

The IOC on Sunday voted unanimously to uphold its suspension of Russian Federation as a team from the Winter Olympics, meaning the country's athletes won't be able to march in the closing ceremony with their national colors or flag.

The IOC said two Russian doping violations during the Pyeongchang Games had marred an otherwise clean report card for the Russian delegation at the Games.

The board had targeted this weekend to decide whether to lift the suspension and allow the Russian Olympic Committee to participate in Sundays' finale.

"We hope and really count on that in the next few days, the membership of the Russian Olympic Committee in the IOC will be completely restored", it said in a statement.

"A doping test for the Russian team's pilot Nadezhda Sergejeva on 18 February gave positive results for a banned heart medication", read the official statement.

"Despite a good collaboration from the OAR delegation to respond to these [doping] cases in a prompt and transparent way, the implementation group was convinced that these cases caused significant concern", Hoevertsz said.

The unanimous vote by the members of the International Olympic Committee on February 25 came minutes after its executive board announced it had recommended that the ban remain in place through the Olympics.

Finally, at the Games' closing ceremony Sunday, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean General Kim Yong Chol - a man considered a "war criminal" by many in the South for his role in two deadly attacks on Southern targets - exchanged a very public handshake.

"With your joint march you have shared your faith in a peaceful future with all of us", Bach said. "It's essentially a Korean problem", the official added, "We will help the Koreans as requested".

Senior North Korean official Kim Yong Chol, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and USA presidential adviser and first daughter Ivanka Trump sat in two rows of seats behind the Olympic rings, meant to represent a competition of peace and worldwide unity. "It is never going to be business as usual in sport again or in Russian Federation".

Reacting to the IOC's decisions on Russia, Rodchenkov's lawyer, Jim Walden, said in a statement: "Thomas Bach was a drowning man, but finally cooler heads within the International Olympic Committee threw him a life preserver".

"They have followed the spirit of the executive board decision (of December) throughout the entire period of the Games", she said.

Former Olympic ice hockey champion Igor Larionov told Reuters it would be hard for Russian players to stand on the podium under the Olympic flag if they won the ice hockey gold medal in their final against Germany later on Sunday.

They were representing "Olympic Athletes from Russia" under strict guidelines including a ban on Russia's flag, national colours and the national anthem.