Korea urges Russians to compete as neutrals in 2018 Olympics

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Still, Haley said she believes President Donald Trump's administration will work to "find out the best way" to make sure the athletes are protected.

But the International Olympic Committee also said it would allow some individual Russian athletes to take part as neutrals, provided they were able to pass a specially created International Olympic Committee anti-doping panel.

The three-time Olympian had led the charge for Canada's first Olympic medal in men's cross-country skiing for over a decade, finishing fourth in team sprint with teammate Alex Harvey at the 2010 Vancouver Games.

"We support the International Olympic Committee's decision to ban Russian Federation from participating in the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, ensuring a clean competition", Canadian Sport Minister Kent Hehr said in a statement. "This is an important conclusion", Putin said.

The IOC also chose to suspend Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) president Alexander Zhukov as an IOC member, while Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko, sports minister at the time of the Sochi Games, was also banned from any future participation at the Olympics.

Should they win gold medals, the Olympic anthem, not the Russian anthem, will be played during medal ceremonies. But 22 Russian athletes this week appealed at the Court of Arbitration for Sport against their disqualifications from Sochi over their alleged role in the cover-up.

Putin and Peskov spoke after ideas of a boycott - and perhaps the resuscitation of a version of the Goodwill Games - circulated in Russia after Tuesday's news that the IOC had suspended the Russian Olympic Committee over a widespread and complex doping program.

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It said the IOC's actions proved that "you can destroy a whole Olympic country on the basis of indirect evidence and a single witness who was under a criminal investigation and has been treated in a psychiatric hospital".

The IOC's decision was met with an eruption of irate denunciations from Russian officials, who attacked it as unfair and as part of a Western plot.

However, Pyotr Tolstoy, deputy speaker of the State Duma, the Russian parliament's lower house, has called for a boycott. "Each of them has to make a decision of some kind now". Zhukov said that it was positive that Russian athletes could still participate in Pyeongchang.

While all of Russia's track and field athletes bar one and the weightlifting team were banned from Rio, about 70 percent of Russia's original 387-strong squad took part at those Games.

Six-time Olympic hockey player Hayley Wickenheiser, who was elected to the IOC athletes' commission in 2014, aligns with Kershaw in placing the blame Russia's sport leaders and not the athletes.

An explosive report by the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) and two subsequent International Olympic Committee investigations have confirmed that Russian athletes took part in an elaborate drug cheating programme which peaked during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

"I have prepared for this for 4 years".

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