Usmanov urges International Olympic Committee to let Russian Federation flag fly at 2018 Olympics

Usmanov urges International Olympic Committee to let Russian Federation flag fly at 2018 Olympics

Usmanov urges International Olympic Committee to let Russian Federation flag fly at 2018 Olympics

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is in talks with Pyongyang over president Bach's possible trip, Yonhap news agency said, citing unnamed Seoul government sources.

The Pyeongchang organising committee had no immediate comment when approached by AFP.

Usmanov urges International Olympic Committee to let Russian Federation flag fly at 2018 Olympics

The Games also received a blow this week when the IOC's executive board barred Russian Federation, which topped the medals table at the 2014 Sochi Games, over its "systematic" doping programme.

"I'd like to tell all Russian athletes preparing for the Olympics in PyeongChang not to get disappointed in any case and definitely not to do anything stupid like a boycott", two-time Olympic gold medalist Yelena Isinbayeva, a Russian member of the IOC, said after the ruling. "And the International Olympic Committee made its decision based on the same set of beliefs".

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In the weeks ahead of Tuesday's IOC decision, more than 20 Russian athletes who competed at the Sochi Games were handed Olympic life bans for having allegedly violated anti-doping rules.

The ban came with a caveat that individual Russian athletes will be allowed to compete under the Olympic flag subject to strict conditions.

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The IOC is working on "operational guidelines" for how to handle Russian athletes who wish to compete, ranging from uniforms the athletes will wear to flags that fans can display in the stands.

Aside from the presence of Russian athletes, North Korea's possible participation has generated much interest in the build-up to the February 9-25 Olympics, especially given the heightened tensions on the divided Korean Peninsula on the heels of Pyongyang's September nuclear test and a series missile launches.

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President Thomas Bach has met with North Korea's Olympic body chief in Switzerland, a USA broadcaster said Saturday. In announcing its decision, the IOC said it may "partially or fully lift the suspension" of the Russian Olympic Committee from the start of the closing ceremony in PyeongChang, provided Russia fully respects and implements the IOC's decisions.

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