Wed | Jan 16, 2019

IOC creates pool of eligible Russians

Published:Saturday | January 20, 2018 | 12:09 AM
A Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018 file photo of Russia's Alexander Khoroshilov competing during an alpine ski, men's World Cup slalom in Zagreb, Croatia. Khoroshilov tells The Associated Press he is not distracted by fallout from the Sochi doping scandal. That has made him wait for an IOC invitation to join a team of Russians judged clean of suspicion to compete in South Korea next month.

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP):

The International Olympic Committee said yesterday that it has created a pool of 389 Russians who are eligible to compete under a neutral flag at next month's Winter Olympics amid the country's doping scandal.

An IOC panel whittled down an initial list of 500 to create what the IOC calls "a pool of clean athletes". That could potentially make it possible for Russia to meet its target of fielding around 200 athletes in Pyeongchang - slightly fewer than in Sochi in 2014, but more than in Vancouver in 2010.

It wasn't immediately clear why 111 other Russians were rejected by the IOC. The IOC didn't list the athletes who were accepted or rejected, but said that it hadn't included any of the 46 the IOC previously banned for doping at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.

Valerie Fourneyron, the former French Sports Minister leading the invitation process, said the pool also left out any Russians who had been suspended in the past for doping offenses.

"This means that a number of Russian athletes will not be on the list," she said. "Our work was not about numbers, but to ensure that only clean athletes would be on the list."


Contenders out


That would appear to rule out potential Russian medal contenders like former NHL hockey player Anton Belov and world champion speedskater Pavel Kulizhnikov, both of whom served bans in the past but have since resumed competing.

"More than 80 per cent of the athletes in this pool did not compete at the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014," the IOC said in a statement. "This shows that this is a new generation of Russian athletes."

The Russians will officially be known as "Olympic Athletes from Russia," and they will wear gray and red uniforms that don't feature any Russian logos. If they win gold medals, the Olympic flag will be flown and the Olympic anthem played.