Pyeongchang, February 25: Russian athletes will not be allowed to march under their country's flag during Sunday's closing ceremony at the Winter Olympics after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) upheld its decision to ban the nation from the events in Pyeongchang, though the suspension could soon be lifted.
The IOC suspended Russia from the Winter Olympics in December following allegations of state-sponsored doping, though 168 athletes were granted permission to compete under a neutral flag as Olympic Athletes of Russia (OAR).
Russian athletes were hoping to sign off from the Games under their flag, however, those hopes were dashed after the IOC confirmed its decision Sunday – citing the two failed drugs tests in South Korea.
Curler Aleksandr Krushelnitckii – who won bronze alongside wife Anastasia Bryzgalova – delivered a positive sample for meldonium, while bobsleigh pilot Nadezhda Sergeeva was disqualified for an anti-doping violation.
IOC president Thomas Bach said: "Having received the report from the Olympic Athlete from Russia Implementation Group, and following an extensive discussion during the 132nd IOC session, the IOC executive board today decided: First, not to lift the suspension of the Russian Olympic Committee for the closing ceremony of the Olympic Winter Games Pyeongchang 2018.
"Therefore, no delegation of the Russian Olympic Committee will have taken part in this Olympic Winter Games. The IOC would have considered lifting the suspension because the Olympic athletes from the Russia delegation has such respected the decision of the IOC that was taken on the 5th of December 2017, however two Olympic athletes from Russia failed doping tests here in Pyeongchang.
"This was hugely disappointing, and in addition to other considerations prevented the IOC from even considering lifting the suspension for the closing ceremony.
"Second, subject to the continued compliance with the IOC EB [International Olympic Committee Executive Board] decision of 5th December 2017, the suspension of the ROC [Russian Olympic Committee] is considered to be lifted once the Doping-Free Sports Unit DFSU has confirmed that there are no additional anti-doping rule violations by members of the OAR delegation."