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(NEW YORK POST) – Russia’s Olympic team on Tuesday was banned from the upcoming Pyeongchang Winter Games and slapped with a $15 million fine over its elaborate doping regime, the International Olympic Committee announced.
Individual Russian sportspeople will still be allowed to compete as an “Olympic Athlete from Russia” in the cold-weather tournament, but they have to do so without their national flag or anthem.
The country may just boycott the games altogether, however. Russian President Vladimir Putin has previously said it would be humiliating to compete without national symbols.
The IOC also hit Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko with a lifetime ban from the Olympics over his role in the country’s doping program.
Mutko, who was sports minister at the time of the 2014 Sochi Olympics, remains head of the 2018 World Cup organizing committee.
IOC commission chairman Samuel Schmid says the doping program “was under the authority of the Russian sports ministry. That is why the then-sports minister has responsibility for the failure of this system.”