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IOC bars Russian figure skaters Stolbova, Bukin from 2018 Olympics

The Russian Figure Skating Federation believes that "this ungrounded and absurd decision once again proves the inadequacy of the IOC statements"

MOSCOW, January 23. /TASS/. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided against extending invitations to Russian figure skaters Ksenia Stolbova (pairs skating) and Ivan Bukin (ice dance) to the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, the Russian Figure Skating Federation (RFSF) announced on Tuesday.

Vice President of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) Stanislav Pozdnyakov announced earlier in the day that the national committee received a list from the IOC of the invited national athletes to the 2018 Winter Games and the list and it missed many athletes, including the team’s leaders such as 2014 Olympic Champion in biathlon Anton Shipulin, two-time World Champion in cross-country skiing Sergey Ustyugov and six-time Olympic Champion in short track Viktor Ahn.

"According to the information obtained from the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), the IOC barred from the 2018 Olympic Games athletes from the main roster of the Russian Olympic figure skating team Ksenia Stolbova and Ivan Bukin," the statement from the RFSF said.

"This ungrounded and absurd decision once again proves the inadequacy of the IOC statements that it makes decisions on its own without yielding to outside pressure and violates all basic principles of the Olympic Charter, in particular the inadmissibility of discrimination, the observance of the principles of solidarity and fair play," the statement added.

Stolbova skates in pair with Fyodor Klimov and the duo are the 2014 Olympic Champions in team competition as well as the winners of the 2015 International Figure Skating Grand Prix final. Bukin is paired with Alexandra Stepanova in ice dance and the duo are two-time bronze medalists of the European Championships.

The IOC’s decision against extending 2018 Olympic invitations to Stolbova and Bukin means that their partners Klimov and Stepanova would be also unable to perform at the Winter Games in PyeongChang.

The ROC earlier provided the IOC with the list of Russian athletes, who intended to go to the Winter Games. After than a special IOC Panel, chaired by ex-sports minister of France and the Chairperson of the ITA (International Testing Agency), Valerie Fourneyron, picked up from the list the names of athletes, whom the IOC would like to invite to the 2018 Olympic Games.

The edited list with the names of the athletes was returned by the IOC to the ROC on Monday and it missed the names of Russia’s leading athletes, including the leader of the Russian biathlon team, Anton Shipulin.

The IOC, however, stated that doping-free athletes from Russia might go to the 2018 Olympic Games under the classification of neutral athletes, or the OAR status, which stands for ‘Olympic Athlete from Russia.’ The IOC reserved the right to the final word in regard to Russian athletes, who will go to PyeongChang under the neutral status.

The upcoming Olympics, which are the 23rd Winter Games, will take place in South Korea’s PyeongChang on February 9-25, 2018.