Russia Will Support Its 'Neutral' Athletes At Winter Olympics, Says Mutko

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Last week, Dick Pound - my fellow Canadian and a man I deeply respect for his commitment to clean sport - encouraged athletes to voice their thoughts on whether Russian Federation should be allowed to compete in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in the wake of the country's doping scandal.

The long-awaited International Olympic Committee decision punishing Russia for a state-sponsored doping campaign during the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia, came a little more than two months before the quadrennial skiing, skating and sledding contests unfold at venues in the mountains and along the coast of South Korea.

Yes, there is a confrontation, the political background of the decision of the International Olympic Committee is huge, but as they say, you should be by head and shoulders above and do our best.

For Putin the ban "looks like an absolutely staged and politically motivated decision".

"The Canadian team will have the confidence that they're competing on a level playing field", COC president Tricia Smith said Tuesday. At the same time, we must certainly defend ourselves in court, and the problem here is that for two years of the struggle we have said that we are filing suits, and in the end it turns out that our athletes defend themselves in courts privately, without an organized support.

The games will not be broadcast in the country because of the absence of a Russian national team. "Why do you punish the entire country", the MP said. They will have to don neutral uniforms and Olympic anthem will be played if the athletes achieve podium finish. Christine is a Canadian weightlifter who finished fourth in 2008 and third in 2012, only to have both finishes upgraded years later - to a bronze and a gold, respectively - after her opponents were caught doping.

But IOC President Thomas Bach said, "An Olympic boycott has never achieved anything". She wasn't completely comfortable allowing Russian athletes to compete as neutrals.

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However, Pyotr Tolstoy, deputy speaker of the State Duma, the Russian parliament's lower house, has called for a boycott.

"The whole situation is a little bit hard", Ovechkin said.

"It's a very fearless decision where the International Olympic Committee penalises a state guilty of so-called institutional doping, bans doped athletes and permits clean ones".

Alexei Kravtsov, president of the Russian Skating Union, said: "The decision is offensive, insulting and completely unjustified". We should not lose our positions here, we need to act as citizens of Russia, as Russians, in order to set an example and give experience of behavior in times of crisis. "But I don't think anything will change".

"The sanction against Mutko is very strong (given that he was) not just sports minister but is now deputy prime minister and number three in the government", said Clastres. "We shouldn't be thinking that winning at any price shows the greatness of our motherland, but we rather have to think of fairness in sports'".

The scientist is now living under federal protection in the United States.

But Sorokin insisted that decision had no impact on the World Cup.