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Putin says Russia won't prevent athletes from competing in Pyeongchang - agencies

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Putin, who announced on Wednesday he would run in a Russian presidential election next year, said he had not instructed officials to deliver victory for the Russian team at the Sochi Games.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the country's authorities will not stop its athletes competing under a neutral flag at the 2018 Winter Olympics, ending the prospect that Russia might boycott the games in response to the International Olympic Committee's decision to ban the country from them on Tuesday.

"They have been preparing for these competitions for their whole careers, and for them it's very important". There were no flawless options, but this decision will clearly make it less likely that this ever happens again.

Canadian cross-country skier Devon Kershaw was floored by the International Olympic Committee's crackdown on Russian Federation because he had zero faith anything would happen. "One should not be carried away by emotions".

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The board acted on recommendations by a commission led by former Swiss President Samuel Schmid, who confirmed "the systemic manipulation of the anti-doping rules and system in Russian Federation".

Any Russian athlete who does compete in Pyeongchang must do so as an "Olympic Athlete from Russia" (OAR), in uniforms which bear that acronym. Russia could refuse the offer to let its athletes compete without national identity or the playing of the Russian national anthem.

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Some Russian sports officials have been criticized for not doing enough to prevent the ban, with senior lawmakers and sports figures calling for them to be fired.

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"I can not accept the option that I would compete in the Olympic Games without the Russian flag as a neutral athlete", Medvedeva said in a statement issued by Russia's Olympic Committee (and translated into English by Google Translate). In Sochi, he showered favors including luxury cars on Russian champions as the national team topped the medals table. "It gives strength and inspires me during performances".

Asked if it's a "done deal" that United States athletes will be able to attend the Olympics, Haley said: "There's an open question".

Asked if that meant there's still uncertainty over whether USA athletes will participate, Haley said it's "an open question". "That's the paper that we signed that says we would be banned no matter what".

Peskov said that while the situation is serious, "emotions should be kept down and the decisions taken by the International Olympic Committee on our country should be thoroughly analyzed before making any accusations on this account".

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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.

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