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IOC officials recommend not to lift Russia’s Olympic suspension

PYEONGCHANG /South Korea/, February 25. /TASS/. International Olympic Committee officials recommended the IOC session not to reinstate the membership of the Russian Olympic Committee before the closing ceremony of the Pyeongchang Olympics.

The Olympic Athletes of Russia Implementation Review Panel head, Nicole Hoevertsz, told the IOC session in PyeongChang that Russian athletes should remain in the status of the Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR) until the Olympics are over.

Shortly after, IOC President Thomas Bach said the Executive Board also recommended not to reinstate Russia’s membership due to two failed doping tests by Olympic athletes from Russia. However, the IOC believes the reported doping violations were individual cases which had no relation to systematic use of doping.

"The IOC would have considered lifting the suspension because the OAR delegation has respected the December 5 decision. However, two athletes failed doping tests here in Pyeongchang. This was hugely disappointing and prevented the IOC lifting the suspension," Bach said. "Subject to continued compliance of December 5, the suspension of the ROC is considered to be lifted once it is confirmed there are no additional doping cases by members of the OAR delegation."

On December 5, the IOC Executive Board announced its decision to suspend the entire Russian national team from taking part in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea’s PyeongChang over multiple doping abuse allegations.

The IOC also imposed restrictions concerning the uniforms Russian athletes are allowed to wear at the PyeongChang Olympics, and banned the display of the Russian flag, this being the reason why Olympic Athletes from Russia marched under the Olympic flag during the Parade of Nations at the Olympics opening ceremony.

However, earlier reports said that Russia’s status could be reinstated during the 132nd IOC Session currently under way.

The portal, close to the IOC, reported earlier on Sunday that Russian athletes will not be allowed to march under their own flag at the Closing Ceremony of Pyeongchang 2018, but, in return, the country's National Olympic Committee is set to have its suspension lifted soon after the Games finish.

The suspension may be lifted "as soon as tomorrow," the portal said.

The Closing Ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang will be held on Sunday, February 25.